Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

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Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Killin_Dillin » Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:56 pm

Can i without needing a medical license? I go dirtbike riding with my buddys a lot and i would like to know if i can carry a set of OPAs in my bag for an airway kit.
Last edited by Killin_Dillin on Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Veritas » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:14 pm

Short answer: Of course, aren't paramedics and doctors considered civilians in California? I assume they are not all in the military...

My predictions for this thread:

1. Seven responses somehow incorporating the phrase "scope of practice"
2. Three responses lamenting the fact that civilians can't get ahold of Product X because it is prescription only.
3. Every response including a variation of the phrase "you should know what your doing"

Besides, if you know how to use them, wouldn't you know if you could carry them?
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Killin_Dillin » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:18 pm

Veritas wrote:Short answer: Of course, aren't paramedics and doctors considered civilians in California? I assume they are not all in the military...

My predictions for this thread:

1. Seven responses somehow incorporating the phrase "scope of practice"
2. Three responses lamenting the fact that civilians can't get ahold of Product X because it is prescription only.
3. Every response including a variation of the phrase "you should know what your doing"

Besides, if you know how to use them, wouldn't you know if you could carry them?
Well...i was never trained on airway...and I don't have an medic or doctors license. Does it fall under the category of " good samaritan" ?
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Veritas » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:22 pm

Instead of wondering if there are legal ramifications to carrying them, I would be asking myself what I thought I was gaining by carrying them.

Since you admit not being able to use them, are you carrying them so someone who does know how to use them might come along and help you out? Or are you planning on improvising when the time comes?

If the former is the case, I would say you should spend the money on something more useful, that you yourself could use. If the latter is the case, I would say you might do more harm than good. In either case, it kind of sounds like a moot point, because I don't carry equipment that I am not trained with and don't recommend that anyone else does either.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Figs and Bacon » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:26 pm

Just outta curiosity, have you taken a CPR class?

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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Killin_Dillin » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:31 pm

Figs and Bacon wrote:Just outta curiosity, have you taken a CPR class?
Yes i have.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Killin_Dillin » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:34 pm

Veritas wrote:Instead of wondering if there are legal ramifications to carrying them, I would be asking myself what I thought I was gaining by carrying them.

Since you admit not being able to use them, are you carrying them so someone who does know how to use them might come along and help you out? Or are you planning on improvising when the time comes?

If the former is the case, I would say you should spend the money on something more useful, that you yourself could use. If the latter is the case, I would say you might do more harm than good. In either case, it kind of sounds like a moot point, because I don't carry equipment that I am not trained with and don't recommend that anyone else does either.
Well...i'm debating that...i've looked at youtube ( as least helpful as it sounds) and someone put up a U.S Army training video for them, and i'm considering getting trained on quite a bit more stuff...
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by elkhills » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:42 pm

Enroll in EMT at your local JC. 2 nights a week for 2 semesters, a few hours of ride along time, bada boom, bada bing- you're qualified. Worry about OPAs after you have been trained.
FYI, I am a "civilian" EMT- meaning not with a city FD or anything, I do have a couple sets of work issued OPAs, but I don't carry them around.
I do a lot of dirtbiking too :D

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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Veritas » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:44 pm

I think you should hold off even worrying about these kinds of things until you get trained to use them. During the process of being trained, you will find questions such as this one answered for you. You won't have to ask the internetz if something is kosher, because you will be trained to use it and already know that it is okay for you to be responsible for someone's airway.

Watching youtube videos is insufficient training. Even though it is technically easy, you need to discuss when it is appropriate and when it is not appropriate to use a device such as an OPA. Hell, even learning on a dummy is not realistic.

Fake edit: yeah...what elkhills said...
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by TacAir » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:47 pm

Veritas wrote:Short answer: Of course, aren't paramedics and doctors considered civilians in California? I assume they are not all in the military...

My predictions for this thread:

1. Seven responses somehow incorporating the phrase "scope of practice"
2. Three responses lamenting the fact that civilians can't get ahold of Product X because it is prescription only.
3. Every response including a variation of the phrase "you should know what your doing"

Besides, if you know how to use them, wouldn't you know if you could carry them?

"Besides, if you know how to use them, wouldn't you know if you could carry them?"

I must say - good one. May I steal that?
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by BlueSilkRibbon » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:50 pm

Generally: An OPA or oral-pharyngeal-airway is a non invasive procedure . Ergo it requires no medical direction. As with anything there is liability attached but all you must do is show ANY training and show that a reasonable and prudent person with similar training or experience would use the device.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Killin_Dillin » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:52 pm

Veritas wrote:I think you should hold off even worrying about these kinds of things until you get trained to use them. During the process of being trained, you will find questions such as this one answered for you. You won't have to ask the internetz if something is kosher, because you will be trained to use it and already know that it is okay for you to be responsible for someone's airway.

Watching youtube videos is insufficient training. Even though it is technically easy, you need to discuss when it is appropriate and when it is not appropriate to use a device such as an OPA. Hell, even learning on a dummy is not realistic.

Fake edit: yeah...what elkhills said...
Yeah YouTube should never be taken seriously. I think i'll just fuggetaboutit. Save the space in my pack an get something more useful....like the "get-around-the-fda" saline aka Sterile Contact Solution and more bandages or gauze. Might i suggest...saline and a soft scrub pad makes getting sand out of a dirt-rash ( dirtbiker's road rash ) easier.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Veritas » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:08 pm

BlueSilkRibbon wrote:Generally: An OPA or oral-pharyngeal-airway is a non invasive procedure . Ergo it requires no medical direction. As with anything there is liability attached but all you must do is show ANY training and show that a reasonable and prudent person with similar training or experience would use the device.
Huh? How is inserting a piece of plastic into somebody's pharynx not invasive? Granted, it is not as "invasive" as intubation or a surgical airway, but come on, you should not want just anybody inserting these things. Either way, I don't think non-invasive procedure necessarily implies no "medical direction" needed.

Besides, you sort of contradicted yourself by saying that you would have to show training, which was my point. Surely you aren't implying that "ANY" training means that you could take a class on wrapping bandages and think you know enough to insert an OPA. There are plenty of times when that is not the correct intervention, and yes they can be harmful.

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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by TacAir » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:15 pm

Veritas wrote:
BlueSilkRibbon wrote:Generally: An OPA or oral-pharyngeal-airway is a non invasive procedure . Ergo it requires no medical direction. As with anything there is liability attached but all you must do is show ANY training and show that a reasonable and prudent person with similar training or experience would use the device.
Huh? How is inserting a piece of plastic into somebody's pharynx not invasive? Granted, it is not as "invasive" as intubation or a surgical airway, but come on, you should not want just anybody inserting these things. Either way, I don't think non-invasive procedure necessarily implies no "medical direction" needed.

Besides, you sort of contradicted yourself by saying that you would have to show training, which was my point. Surely you aren't implying that "ANY" training means that you could take a class on wrapping bandages and think you know enough to insert an OPA. There are plenty of times when that is not the correct intervention, and yes they can be harmful.

Tac Air, steal away, I'm sure I'm not the first person to make that statement.
Ya, but I'm the kind of guy that asks anyway....thanks!
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by DocMartin » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:21 am

Do what I do--carry around what you are trained with, as long as it's reasonable.

Example: When I'm out with my buddies off-roading or doing our long-driving nights to get away from things for a few hours, I carry my first responder bag. I have an OPA kit in there.

But say if I was trained to intubate or set up an IV line (I am trained to do set lines up, not intubate) and poke the PT (this I'm not...just given very basic orientation), I wouldn't carry those things in the kit. It's just asking to have your ass handed to you if you eff up on the streets.


So in your case, carry a CPR mask and a set of gloves until you get extra training (get first responder or EMT.)
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by BlueSilkRibbon » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:50 am

Veritas wrote:
BlueSilkRibbon wrote:Generally: An OPA or oral-pharyngeal-airway is a non invasive procedure . Ergo it requires no medical direction. As with anything there is liability attached but all you must do is show ANY training and show that a reasonable and prudent person with similar training or experience would use the device.
Huh? How is inserting a piece of plastic into somebody's pharynx not invasive? Granted, it is not as "invasive" as intubation or a surgical airway, but come on, you should not want just anybody inserting these things. Either way, I don't think non-invasive procedure necessarily implies no "medical direction" needed.

Besides, you sort of contradicted yourself by saying that you would have to show training, which was my point. Surely you aren't implying that "ANY" training means that you could take a class on wrapping bandages and think you know enough to insert an OPA. There are plenty of times when that is not the correct intervention, and yes they can be harmful.

Tac Air, steal away, I'm sure I'm not the first person to make that statement.
No, I did not contradict myself I was speaking to legality and liability. Nowhere did I recommend using an OPA or imply that doing so had no risk. "ANY" training, within the context of the paragraph would seem to imply any OPA training. Invasive procedure, by definition and common medical consensus is any procedure that enters the body by cutting or puncturing or requires an instrument to place.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Tac Medic » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:20 am

BSR is correct. Placing an NP or OPA is considered non-invasive. Back to the original question, honestly, I'd suggest you just carry an NPA, pocket mask, and a good cell phone.

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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Killin_Dillin » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:12 pm

Tac Medic wrote:BSR is correct. Placing an NP or OPA is considered non-invasive. Back to the original question, honestly, I'd suggest you just carry an NPA, pocket mask, and a good cell phone.
I need to get a new pocket mask.( long story, but it and me managed to fall in the Owens River in Bishop,ca) What style would you guys recommend? The ones that look a chest seal or one of the other 15,000 types?
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by TacAir » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:45 pm

I looked at this again, then looked up **California law** - each State is somewhat different.

The California law seems straightforward - the thing that cuaht my eye was the statement within the law:

"... as long as that act or omission does not constitute gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. "

So, now, what is this 'gross negligence'? That, it would seem, is in the eye of the beholder. Because of this **lawsuit** the State Senate changed the law (as seen above, the new one is at the link).

I find it interesting that California does not 'outlaw' certian procedures.

Here in Alaska, **the law is quite specific**:
The immunity provided under (b) of this section does not apply to civil damages that result from providing or attempting to provide any of the following advanced life support techniques unless the person who provided them was authorized by law to provide them:

(1) manual electric cardiac defibrillation;

(2) administration of antiarrhythmic agents;

(3) intravenous therapy;

(4) intramuscular therapy; or

(5) use of endotracheal intubation devices.

(d) This section does not preclude liability for civil damages as a result of gross negligence or reckless or intentional misconduct.


Bottom line, it is worth the time checking (yearly?) your State's Good Samaritan Law - they can change or have specifics you should be aware of before you drag out your aid kit.

Thanks for the thread, and the motivation to look up what the law is in another State.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by crypto » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:53 pm

My lay opinion is that shoving a NPA in someones face when they have head trauma that contra-indicates use of a NPA would be considered gross negligence.


And given that we're talking about airways for dirt bike trips, that kind of smashed-up-face and head trauma seems more likely than average.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by AZMedic » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:22 pm

Wow, Alaska protecting those who don't know what they are doing.....
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Figs and Bacon » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:43 pm

crypto wrote:My lay opinion is that shoving a NPA in someones face when they have head trauma that contra-indicates use of a NPA would be considered gross negligence.

And given that we're talking about airways for dirt bike trips, that kind of smashed-up-face and head trauma seems more likely than average.
California defines gross negligence as "an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct, as an entire failure to exercise care, as the exercise of so slight a degree of care as to justify the belief that there was an indifference to the interest and welfare of others, and as that want of care that raises a presumption of conscious indifference to consequences." If you attempt to intubate someone and you've received no training on it, there's going to be an argument made that you were guilty of negligence. Whether or not the person suing you wins, is another matter altogether.

Personally, in my FAK I don't keep anything that I do not know how to use. Even having things like Combat Gauze make me a little nervous. If I were to ever use it and the individual died, that person's family could sue and strengthen their argument saying that if I was going to carry around things like that, I had to responsibility to be trained on it. Since I didn't, I was negligent (again, them actually winning the case is another matter.)

The best suggestion I can give to the original poster is to take an EMT class and learn how to use the things you want to carry. You are going to know how and when to use them, and you will have a stronger defense in the event you wind up in court.

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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by crypto » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:10 pm

No, what Im saying is that it would be gross negligence if an EMT did it too.


Combat gauze is designed for use by lay people, as is the quickclot sport sponge.
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Re: Can a civilian in California carry a set of OPAs?

Post by Figs and Bacon » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:25 pm

crypto wrote:No, what Im saying is that it would be gross negligence if an EMT did it too.


Combat gauze is designed for use by lay people, as is the quickclot sport sponge.
An EMT could counter the argument by saying the he was trained in its use. Provided he used it correctly, its going to be very difficult to persuade a judge/jury that the EMT was guilty of gross negligence even if the outcome of using an OPA was unsuccessful. For an EMT to be found guilty of gross negligence, he would probably have to have done an emergency trach w/o first trying the Heimlich.

I did watch several seasons of LA Law, so I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. :lol:

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