Back in 2007, I blogged about how EMS should and does disarm people during an EMS call. The reason has nothing to do with depriving anyone of rights and everything to do with physiology: people who are sick, dying, or having any other serious medical issue frequently lash out. This well known phenomenon is akin to a cornered animal fighting for its life. After all, when you are dying or seriously ill, your hindbrain kicks in and demands that you fight for survival: it is an instinct that has been embedded in our behavior by millions of years of evolution.
Some people disagree. This firefighter failed to disarm a seizure patient. When that patient came to, he shot and killed the firefighter. This story is the exact reason why this is done. Had that firefighter taken the simple precaution of moving the weapon out of the room, he would be alive and his patient would not be in prison.
I disarmed every patient I had, at least until we had concluded our business. Sometimes, that meant moving the gun to another room. Sometimes I held on to it, sometimes I turned the weapon over to the cops. In a couple of cases, I put the gun in the patient’s bag and placed the bag in the cab of my ambulance with my partner while the patient and I rode to the hospital in the back.
It was temporary, and only because of a medical condition that required it. No different than taking a drunk’s car keys.