Evidence Collection for the Unconscious and Unconsented Patient

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DOI: 10.4236/ojn.2014.44033    5,592 Downloads   7,239 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Forensic nurses are faced with making an ethical decision when an unconscious patient presents with signs of sexual assault. If the patient is unable to consent, the nurses need to decide whether or not to perform a forensic exam. Hospitals have policies in place regarding consent for emergency care, but not all of them consider the collection of forensic evidence. The window of opportunity for forensic collection may disappear before contacts are made or proper consent is established. Ethical, legal, and policy considerations that complicate this scenario are discussed.

Cite this paper

Constantino, R. , Stewart, C. , Campbell, P. , Moynihan, B. , Kagan, S. , Daugherty, P. , Thimsen, K. , Tiefel, L. , O’Brien, C. and Johnson, J. (2014) Evidence Collection for the Unconscious and Unconsented Patient. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 287-295. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.44033.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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