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Ohio EMS Issues Statement on New Law Enforcement Restraint Laws


Dr. Carol Cunningham, State Medical Director of the Ohio Department of EMS, issued a statement to clarify that two new laws that address the restraint of pregnant adults and children respectively by law enforcement personnel do not apply to Ohio EMS providers. Guidelines for EMS providers are outlined in Dr. Cunningham's statement, printed in full below.

To:  Ohio EMS providers, EMS agencies, and EMS medical directors
From:  Carol A. Cunningham, M.D. FAAEM, FAEMS
  State Medical Director
Date:  April 30,2021
RE: Restraint of Pregnant Adults and Children by Law Enforcement Personnel

For informational purposes, I want to make you aware of two laws for law enforcement personnel that went into effect on April 12, 2021. Ohio Revised Code 2901.10 and Ohio Revised Code 2152.75 address the restraint of pregnant adults and children, respectively, by law enforcement personnel. These laws require law enforcement personnel to contact the healthcare provider prior to applying physical restraints to a pregnant adult or a pregnant child.

In the interest of clarity, it is important to inform all parties that these laws do not apply to certified Ohio EMS providers. Specifically, please note the following:

1. Certified Ohio EMS providers should be dispatched to respond to patients experiencing medical emergencies with the primary intent of transport to a healthcare facility. EMS personnel should not be dispatched by law enforcement personnel or other parties to restrain a person, physically or pharmacologically, for the sole purpose of facilitating an arrest or transport to a non-medical facility.

2. The “healthcare provider” cited in these two laws is defined in Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2108.61 as physicians, registered nurses, certified nurse-midwives, or physician assistants. Certified Ohio EMS providers are not included, and therefore cannot serve as the point of contact for law enforcement personnel as required by ORC 2901.10 and ORC 2152.75.

3. These two laws do not diminish or revoke the authority of the EMS medical director to provide written protocols for physical management of pregnant persons by certified Ohio EMS providers, particularly within the scenario of a violent or uncooperative patient.

Thank you for your dedicated service to your patients and to Ohio EMS!

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