WWW.JEMS.COM JULY 2017 | JEMS 33
EMS providers are only required to accommodate service dogs as defined by the Americans with
Disabilities Act, and crews can legally deny transporting all other types of animals.
Photos Matthe w Strauss
The truth about EMS transport of
service dogs & other support animals
By Criss Brainard, EMT-P
Engine 30 and Medic 6 respond to their local shopping mall and find, Nancy, a 38-year old female complaining of tightness in her chest. Nancy is sitting on a sidewalk bus bench with her dog.
Bystanders tell you she seemed to get upset when she missed her bus and within
minutes began complaining she wasn’t feeling well.
Nancy is visibly upset, but able to answer your questions appropriately. Her heart
rate is 96, strong, regular and corresponds to sinus rhythm on your monitor, with a
blood pressure of 156/88 and a respiratory rate of 28, non-labored.
The rest of her vital signs and physical assessment are within normal limits. She
denies any medical problems except occasional panic attacks. Nancy requests and
agrees to be transported to the hospital, which is 20 minutes away, but insists her
canine companion join her.
She tells you he’s a “service dog” who provides her with emotional support and
produces official-looking papers indicating her dog has been certified by Service
Dogs of America.
ANIMALS SUPPORTING PATIENTS
Many of our patients have significant debilitating emotional and physical conditions with complex treatment plans. Fortunately for thousands of people, like Nancy,
their comfort can be enhanced with a variety support animals, and the crews in
our scenario are faced with a situation that’s becoming more common every day.