Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NCIS on the legal issue of the status of a Navy Corpsman aiding civilians (Navy medics are not discharged as EMT Basic (?))

A Navy corpsman helps victims of a car crash, and is charged with practicing law without a license.

A police officer (Harper) tells Gibbs: you can't change the law.

Gibbs contacts lawyer Carrie Clark to help the corpsman Anna Dillon. There is a flashback to Anna helping the injured in Afghanistan.

As to forensics, the distinction between paint silver 266 vs. silver 272 leads NCIS to the owner of the vehicle causing the car crash. The owner is " Dave Lancelotti ", played by actor Lou Ferrigno Jr. (yes, the son of the Incredible Hulk).

Interesting line. "The men in mensroom is more of a rule than a suggestion." On finding Bishop in the mensroom.
Discussion of Abby's requirements for men. #8. Advice to Bishop: Let Abby be Abby.

Carrie talks to Anne. Navy training does not comply with state licensure. Kerry says admit what you did.

Gibbs to Harper: make sure we're punishing the right person.

Lancelotti is found dead, a bullet wound in his head, and a gun in his hand.

Ducky determines Lancelotti was already dead when gunshot happened.

Kerry talks to father of deceased Hicks. Anna mentions that J.B. Hicks told Anna to help the other two. Hicks's father expresses surprise that Anna is charged.
Gibbs: It may not be right but it's the law.

Abby: a watched DNA never dings.

The dna of Bennett Jemaine shows up on the murder weapon of Lancelotti.

Abby has a date with Burt. They talk about the "two month thing."
Burt gives Abby black roses.

Anna notes "My life is on the line." Gibbs shows sanding "with the grain."
Kerry shows up. Fairfax County Prosecutor gives deal. Anna gets "community service."
Gibbs says to Anna: go to school; get certified.

The CBS write-up on "Semper Fortis" :

Gibbs searches for a way to clear a Navy Hospital Corpsman, who has served two medical tours in Afghanistan, after she's indicted for illegally providing medical aid to the victims of the crash, even though the surviving victims swear by her life-saving techniques,

See link: http://www.screenfad.com/ncis/ncis-sneak-peak-s12e08-semper-fortis-28194#sthash.pnpeSe0n.dpbs which includes
the text

While Army and Air Force medics are discharged as EMT Basic, the Navy does not enjoy that privilege. Because of that disparity, Dillon is a civilian, not an EMT. It is illegal for civilians to practice medicine without certification. She never will be hired in her field, even if she is found innocent of any charges. Knowing the consequences, Dillon still chooses to do the right thing.

UPDATE on Nov. 22, 2014

One person asked about Good Samaritan laws.

One discussion on LexisNexis:

-->James v. Rowe, No. 87-2297-S (D. Kan. Nov. 25, 1987
When plaintiff suffered a head injury, the ambulance service was called to the scene to provide emergency care and to transport him to the hospital. Plaintiff claimed the ambulance service employees were negligent in treating him and in failing to transport him immediately to a facility capable of treating him. The service asserted the Kansas Good Samaritan Law exempted it from liability for ordinary negligence.

The court, in examining the Kansas law, rejected defendant's contention that the legislature intended to extinguish common law negligence for all health care that might be given in an emergency. The purpose for enacting the Good Samaritan Law was to encourage medically trained personnel to assist in an emergency situation.

Further, the court stated no Kansas court had interpreted the Good Samaritan Law. Those states that had interpreted similar laws have uniformly held that the law was not meant to exempt all medical personnel in every emergency situation, only those who encounter an emergency outside the normal course of their work and who would otherwise have no duty to assist.
<-- Update on Nov. 23, 2014 from the case KLEINKNECHT v. Gettysburg College, 989 F.2d 1360 (CA3 1993) :
we address the College's argument that Pennsylvania's Good Samaritan law provides immunity to both the College and its personnel who rendered emergency care to Drew. This statute provides in pertinent part:

(a) General rule.--Any person who renders emergency care, first aid or rescue at the scene of an emergency . . . shall not be liable to such person for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions in rendering the emergency care, first aid or rescue . . . except any acts or omissions intentionally designed to harm or any grossly negligent acts or omissions which result in harm to the person receiving the emergency care, first aid, or rescue . . . .

(b) Exceptions.--

* * *

(2) In order for any person to receive the benefit of the exemption from civil liability provided for in subsection (a), he shall be, at the time of rendering the emergency care, first aid or rescue . . . the holder of a current certificate evidencing the successful completion of a course in first aid, advanced life saving or basic life support sponsored by the American National Red Cross or the American Heart Association or an equivalent course of instruction approved by the Department of Health . . . and must be performing techniques and employing procedures consistent with the nature and level of the training for which the certificate has been issued.

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8332(a), (b)(2) (1982).

As to the state of Virginia, one has

§ 8.01-225. Persons rendering emergency care, obstetrical services exempt from liability

A. Any person who:

1. In good faith, renders emergency care or assistance, without compensation, to any ill or injured person (i) at the scene of an accident, fire, or any life-threatening emergency; (ii) at a location for screening or stabilization of an emergency medical condition arising from an accident, fire, or any life-threatening emergency; or (iii) en route to any hospital, medical clinic, or doctor's office, shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions resulting from the rendering of such care or assistance.


This is about civil damages. This does not address whether or not performing a tracheotomy [a surgical procedure which consists of making an incision on the anterior aspect of the neck and opening a direct airway through an incision in the trachea (windpipe). ] by a civilian amounts to a violation of state licensure laws.

[None of this should be construed as providing legal advice, or forming an attorney-client relationship with anyone.]


Blogger Russ Araujo said...

I've heard of the "Good Samaritan Law" that says that if you stop and try to help someone in a medical emergency, you can't be sued later if the person you help doesn't survive. Wouldn't that apply here? Maybe that is only for civil issues, and the law license issue is criminal. But then anyone stopping to help an accident victim could be charged with practicing medicine without a license, regardless of whether they were a Navy medical corpsman or not. What comments do you have on the Good Samaritan Law in this case?

1:05 PM  
Blogger applemacgordy said...


Is this a actual rule against the Navy? I was not able to find any article specifying them, just dicussing saying the difficulty of army medics becoming a advanced EMT.

7:23 PM  
Blogger normfromga said...

Of course, as a lawyer, you know that most states, including Virginia, have Good Samaritan Laws which allow ANY civilian to render aid to any accident victim, as long as it was done "in good will", and without charge, without fear of prosecution or liability.

The discrepancy as to how different service medical personnel are evaluated towards EMT qualifications may exist, but the trumped-up scenario used in this episode should not lead to any reforms.

6:31 PM  

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