Today’s question

… is regarding a medical team (mixed discipline Paramedics, Diploma holding medics and sometimes Nurses) for an event. Within that team legally who bears the burden or overall responsibility for patient outcomes in the eyes of the coroner and any other applicable medico-legal issues for that team.

Fundamentally the answer to that question depends on how the team is structured, ie who is the appointed team leader? what was the task?

Speaking more generally the answer is no single person. Each person is responsible for their task and their role. If there are poor patient outcomes the question would be ‘what happened and what part did each team member play?’ Who is responsible for the ‘patient outcome’ depends on what happened: Was there a failure by the doctor to consider a diagnosis and order a test? A failure by the nurse to report observed signs, symptoms or patient’s complaint? A failure by the paramedic to perform some task with appropriate skill and care? Was there a failure by the organisation that deployed the team to ensure the members were adequately resourced for the task.

There is not a ‘hierarchy’ where everyone is ‘deemed’ to act only on the orders of the most senior practitioner or doctor above nurses above paramedics etc. People are responsible for the decisions they make and the actions they take in all the circumstances.