Tallman Applauds Department of Health Decision on EMS, Diabetic Patient Interaction
HARRISBURG – A state legislator with an extensive background in emergency medicine is commending a Department of Health decision that will now allow emergency medical service (EMS) providers to perform a finger stick test to diabetic patients in the field.

“Most people would be surprised to learn EMS personnel were not allowed before this to administer a finger stick as part of a routine exam,” said Will Tallman, (R-Adams/Cumberland), a former emergency medical technician who frequently testified on the issue before the Department of Health. “It took about four years to get this across the finish line, but we’re glad to see the decision made and view it as a big victory for these hard-working volunteers and the patients they treat in critical situations.”

Before the Department of Health decision to establish new protocols, EMS providers were prevented from performing the blood glucose test, as doing so was not part of the definition of their “scope of practice.”

This issue was brought to my attention four years ago when Lake Meade Fire and Rescue in East Berlin was forced to transport a patient to a local hospital before being able to do a finger stick test,” Tallman said. “The patient recovered despite extremely low blood sugar that rendered him unconscious. The time lost in transit could have easily resulted in a different outcome.”

According to Tallman, any civilian could have taken the patient’s blood sugar and had his or her actions protected under the Good Samaritan Law. An EMT did not have the same protection from repercussion because the test was not listed under their scope of practice.

“These talented men and women who are there for us in our time of need deserve to have available all the tools needed to effectively perform their duties,” Tallman added. “In a job where lives are on the line and seconds count, this decision by the Department of Health makes tremendous sense.”

Representative Will Tallman
193rd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

RepWillTallman.com / Facebook.com/RepTallman
Media Contact: Scott Little

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