To the Daily:
In his recent letter to the editor, Stephen DeMare bases his opinion of the Medical Amnesty Act on an ideal world that doesn’t account for the realities that exist on college campuses throughout the United States and particularly at the University (Medical Amnesty Act makes irresponsibility acceptable, 02/17/2010). People at this University consume alcohol in a safe manner every night. Sometimes people do consume too much, which is a risk we must prevent from increasing. As a member of the Greek system, I know that’s one of the benefits of the sober monitor system. It recognizes that people consume alcohol at parties and tries to put the best methods in place to minimize alcohol-related risks.
As an EMT, I have seen first-hand why the Medical Amnesty Act makes sense. Numerous people I know have called me to tell me that a friend passed out from drinking too much and want to know if this friend needs to go to a hospital. Sometimes my answer is that I’ve consumed alcohol myself, so I can’t legally give that advice. This is incredibly difficult because many of these intoxicated friends then have two choices: do nothing and risk injury to the passed out third-party friend or call for an ambulance and risk an MIP.
This may sound like an easy choice, except for the fact that intoxicated persons do not think logically. That’s why under state law an intoxicated person cannot legally consent or object to many things. Now consider if I’m sober and go to see this passed out third-party. If I say this person needs to go to a hospital, is my intoxicated friend going to call an ambulance or a taxi? When someone’s pulse is 50 and dropping the answer is obvious — but not to an intoxicated person.
Consider a third option, though. Some people may choose to illegally drive intoxicated to bring their passed out friend to the hospital, the worst of these three choices. The Medical Amnesty Act provides protection to minors who bring a friend to the hospital to ensure that someone who has a health risk (a passed out or injured person) does not become a health tragedy. This bill is a matter of life and death because, if not passed, it may not be reconsidered until someone actually dies.