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MediocreGolfer

Are police automatically called on near-drownings?

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I'm wondering if police (just in general) are automatically called when there is a near-drowning. I'm supposing if the near-drowning has no injury involved they might not be called, but if there is a serious injury, they wouldn't be. But I don't know, so I'm asking. Thanks.

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What does "automatically called" mean?  Are you asking if there's some sort of nationwide surveillance system that "automatically" summons the police anytime someone "nearly drowns"?  Whether a "near drowning" will result in anyone being called obviously depends on the facts and circumstances of the incident and whether anyone involved is inclined to call someone (police or otherwise).

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Thanks very much, pg1067. I'm writing a novel about a near drowning. The novel as it stands has a boy nearly drowning. He's saved by a lifeguard and then taken to a hospital by paramedics. (I'm trying to keep the police out of my story, but in a writers forum someone is telling me, basically, that the police have to be involved.) (And I've also been thinking along the lines that when there is an injury in the ER that hospital personnel suspect being caused by a crime, they have to call the police.) So a better question would be, if the paramedics take the boy to the hospital, would they have to notify the police?

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49 minutes ago, MediocreGolfer said:

I'm trying to keep the police out of my story, but in a writers forum someone is telling me, basically, that the police have to be involved.

 

Not necessarily. I've read many stories and have seen much TV and movies were police aren't necessarily involved. However, if somebody calls 911, and paramedics are dispatched, it's likely that police will be dispatched at the same time.

 

52 minutes ago, MediocreGolfer said:

if the paramedics take the boy to the hospital, would they have to notify the police?

 

If the paramedics were dispatched from a 911 call, the police were likely already called.

 

If, say, the paramedics came across a drowning boy, rescued him and took him to the hospital, it would be a matter of routine and probably mandatory procedure to radio for the police, too.

 

Bottom line, though, it's fiction. You can write it any way you want.

 

 

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1 hour ago, MediocreGolfer said:

I'm writing a novel about a near drowning. The novel as it stands has a boy nearly drowning. He's saved by a lifeguard and then taken to a hospital by paramedics. (I'm trying to keep the police out of my story, but in a writers forum someone is telling me, basically, that the police have to be involved.)

 

Just for clarity's sake, my opinion isn't any better or worse than any other anonymous stranger's opinion.  With that said, I think what you're wondering is whether, regardless of the circumstances (including where the events take place), would a lifeguard or paramedics or hospital personnel call the police.  The answer to that is absolutely and unequivocally no.  The only reason to contact the police would be (1) if a crime were suspected; or (2) some law requires it.  There are lots of circumstances in which a boy might "nearly drown" without any reason to suspect a crime.  I'd be curious to know why the person in your writers' forum believes that the police would "have to be involved."

 

 

1 hour ago, MediocreGolfer said:

I've also been thinking along the lines that when there is an injury in the ER that hospital personnel suspect being caused by a crime, they have to call the police.

 

To the best of my knowledge, the only time mandatory reporting is required is if the crime suspected is domestic abuse.

 

 

1 hour ago, MediocreGolfer said:

So a better question would be, if the paramedics take the boy to the hospital, would they have to notify the police?

 

There is no absolute rule that applies everywhere in the U.S. and regardless of circumstances that would require this.

 

 

17 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

Bottom line, though, it's fiction. You can write it any way you want.

 

Concur.

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2 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

Thanks a lot, Jack.

Quote

If the paramedics were dispatched from a 911 call, the police were likely already called.

I just called the non-emergency phone number of the Chicago Fire Dept.. It was after hours so the person answering wasn't able to give me a definitive answer, but she did say that all the 911 calls go through dispatch and hence police would be aware of calls about a near-drowning. Now, if they would respond to those calls or not I don't know. (I'm going to call tomorrow during business hours to find out more.)

Quote

 

Bottom line, though, it's fiction. You can write it any way you want.

 

 

You'd be surprised how people are sticklers for accuracy. (Especially fellow writers.)

 

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2 hours ago, pg1067 said:

Thanks pg1067.

Quote

Just for clarity's sake, my opinion isn't any better or worse than any other anonymous stranger's opinion.  With that said, I think what you're wondering is whether, regardless of the circumstances (including where the events take place), would a lifeguard or paramedics or hospital personnel call the police.  The answer to that is absolutely and unequivocally no.  The only reason to contact the police would be (1) if a crime were suspected; or (2) some law requires it.  There are lots of circumstances in which a boy might "nearly drown" without any reason to suspect a crime.

  Okay that makes sense.

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I'd be curious to know why the person in your writers' forum believes that the police would "have to be involved."

Me too. But I don't know if I'll be able to find out. (The responders in the forum I heard that are very sporadic.)

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To the best of my knowledge, the only time mandatory reporting is required is if the crime suspected is domestic abuse.

Yes, and like you said, if they suspect a crime is committed. But I do think hospitals need to report gunshot wounds or stab wounds even if accidental. (At least in Washington state.) I found this searching online:

A hospital shall report to a local law enforcement authority as soon as reasonably possible, taking into consideration a patient's emergency care needs, when the hospital provides treatment for a bullet wound, gunshot wound, or stab wound to a patient.

from: https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=70.41.440

I'm going to call the Chicago Fire Dept. tomorrow. I'll report back.

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1 hour ago, MediocreGolfer said:

You'd be surprised how people are sticklers for accuracy. (Especially fellow writers.)

 

You're not writing for follow writers. You're writing for people who want a good story. If not calling the police makes sense in your story, the reader will buy it.

 

 

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When you respond to quotes, please don't add text into the quote boxes.  It makes it difficult for readers.

 

 

13 hours ago, MediocreGolfer said:

Yes, and like you said, if they suspect a crime is committed. But I do think hospitals need to report gunshot wounds or stab wounds even if accidental. (At least in Washington state.) I found this searching online:

A hospital shall report to a local law enforcement authority as soon as reasonably possible, taking into consideration a patient's emergency care needs, when the hospital provides treatment for a bullet wound, gunshot wound, or stab wound to a patient.

from: https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=70.41.440

 

That all makes sense.  Those types of wounds are far more likely than not to result from criminal type activity.  Especially in states on the ocean or with significant lake shores and rivers, accidental "near drownings" probably happen with a fair amount of frequency, and reporting and investigating every one would probably impose significant burdens on hospital/EMT personnel and police.

 

 

12 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

If not calling the police makes sense in your story, the reader will buy it.

 

I agree.  No one is going to say, "well....this otherwise excellent novel is marred because there is a near drowning without the police being called."

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Thanks guys. I couldn't get a hold of the Chicago Fire Dept. person in charge of this sort of information. (I got his voicemail and his inbox was full.) So I went to my town's fire dept. and talked to a super helpful and knowledgeable fireman. He said in the case of a 911 call, (and he said in the case of near-drownings lifeguards are mandated to call 9-1-1-) the fire dept./paramedics and police are notified simultaneously. But I think the solution to avoiding the police is the paramedics taking the near-drowning victim (a small boy in my story) to the hospital before the police arrive. I ran it by him and he nodded and said, "Load and go." He explained that "time-sensitive patients" don't wait for the police to arrive.

 

So I think I'm good with my problem of keeping the police out of it.

 

Many many thanks for all the help!

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