The ED nurse has triaged a client who was in a severe motor vehicle accident. He is unconscious with fractures to the left femur and left humerus and ulna. CT also reveals a large amount of internal hemorrhaging. No identification was found on the client at the scene. What is the correct action by the nurse?
try to obtain informed consent from a family member
wait until the client is conscious, and then obtain the consent
ask police to run the tag number so the client can be identified
inform the health care provider that consent cannot be obtained at this time
Number 1 is correct.
Rationale: In an emergency situation where the client is suffering a potentially life-threatening event, it is not necessary to obtain consent. Trying to obtain consent from a family member wastes valuable time, since the client’s identity is unknown. The client may not gain consciousness, so waiting until he can be roused is not the correct action. Asking the police to run the tag number wastes precious time that the client needs to be prepped for surgery, and is not a feasible option. Informing the health care provider that consent cannot be obtained does not apply in an emergency situation. The client is at high risk for death from internal bleeding.