An emergency room nurse in Chicago recently refused to draw blood from a patient at the request of police. The police suspected alcohol caused the accident for which the accused sought medical care.
The nurse insisted on first consulting her supervisor, and the article focused on the her lawsuit against the City for arresting her, an arrest she believed was unjustified. But the article also provides an opportunity for a discussion of DUI, hospitals, blood draws and the police.
According to government statistics, the chances of a DUI accident are pretty high. In 2007, over 250,000 crashes with injuries involved alcohol and another 13,000 were killed in such crashes. Those involved in such crashes often end up in the emergency room due to their injuries.
Suppose after drinking you are involved in an accident. As a result of the injuries you suffer in the accident, you are taken to the hospital.
Admitting personnel may detect signs of alcohol consumption. The emergency room doctor may therefore order blood tests to determine your Blood Alcohol Content, because alcohol in your system can affect the medications you receive and the procedures the doctor performs on you. Thus, the blood was drawn for the purpose of providing you with medical treatment.
Nevertheless, if you are charged with DUI, the state can force the hospital to release the blood test results and use the results to prosecute you for DUI, in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/11-501.4. This should not be confused with the scenario envisioned under 625 ILCS 5/11-501.6.
This statute (law) provides that any driver involved in an accident is assumed to have given his consent to provide blood samples to the police, even if he is dead or unconscious. Note that these blood draws are not made at the request of your doctor or for the purpose of rendering medical treatment to you but solely to assist the police in the DUI case.
If you are conscious and refuse to allow the police to draw blood, you will be deemed to have refused testing. This refusal may be recorded even though the doctor, in the course of treating you, had drawn blood and turned the results over to the police in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/11-501.4. Since a refusal results in a longer suspension of your license, you can face the worse of both worlds: a refusal suspension but a blood test being used against you in the DUI prosecution. If you are in need of an effective defense, contact a skilled Illinois DUI lawyer.