Forensic Evidence Collection
Emergency room nurses are often the first healthcare providers to come into contact with patients involved incidences relating to a potential crime. It is up to the nurse to be able to identify, evaluate, and treat such patients and be able to identify, collect and preserve evidence (Foresman-Capuzzi, 2014). Some examples of situations where different types of evidence may need to be collected from include: motor vehicle accidents, burns, falls, injuries due to firearms, homicide, suicide and sexual assault, to name a few (Foresman-Capuzzi, …show more content…
The nurses should look to obtain a thorough and complete history of the event that occurred, including where, when, who was involved as well as documenting sayings that the patient might make while under the nurses care (Slate, 2015). If the event that occurred is not evident (stabbing, motor vehicle accident), the nurse can look to use this information that is obtained to assist in formulation of a diagnosis and treatment plan. If a patient states that they were raped, or over dosed on drugs, the nurse would look to treat as well as determine how to go about collecting the type of evidence related to that situation (Slate, 2015).
Once the cause of the event has been determined, physical evidence, such as hair, paint chips, bullets or knives, can be collected into a bag or container. For proper storage, the bag or container containing the evidence should include the patient’s name, medical record number, date, time, site of collection as well as the name of the nurse who collected the evidence (Foresman-Capuzzi, 2014). Competent handling of forensic evidence may be a deciding factor in a verdict, so it is important that during this process the nurse uses gloves, to prevent cross contamination (Machiesle,