The Gunshot and Stab Wound Mandatory Disclosure Act (the “Act”) is in effect as of April 1, 2010.
The Act makes it mandatory for all Alberta Health Services (“AHS”) health care facilities and emergency medical technicians to report certain information to the police when a gunshot or stab wound is treated (or AHS offers treatment). The key obligations of the Act are stated below.
Only the above information must be disclosed to the police.
There are some situations under the Act where reporting is not required.
Where police have accompanied the patient, this disclosure may be made directly to the officer. In the situation where no police are present with the patient, the Emergency Department charge nurse (or EMT) shall contact the local police service non-emergency number to make the disclosure. Any AHS staff or EMT reporting to the police must make a written notation of the police service receiving the information, the date of the report, and that the report was pursuant to the Act. This notation should be placed in the progress notes on the patient’s chart.
This legislation is not meant to override existing disclosure training and requirements with police services. Rather, it is meant to complement already existing information sharing processes.
AHS staff treating a patient with stab or gunshot wounds will need to contact the Emergency Department charge nurse in their facility with the information listed above. The Emergency Department charge nurse will then report to the local police service. EMTs should report directly to the local police service if they do not deliver the patient to a health-care facility.
It is important to note that no legal action can be brought against staff who act in good faith under the Act.