Monday, October 19, 2015

Do Ambulances Have to Transport Service Dogs with Patients?

Most of the time, they do.

This evening on Facebook I saw a discussion about this and an EMT posted something along the lines of "Most of the time there is not going to be room for Fido in the ambulance and Fido will be in the way if we have to do CPR or something.  I know the law but even so, I am going to make a judgement call.  I know service dogs are medical equipment but on an ambulance, I am the only medical equipment you need."

Well, this scares the crap out of me.

I expect EMT's to know and comply with the law. But I also realize some may not.  And in an emergency, I would be at their mercy.  Just like in the ER.

If there is really not room for my SD in the ambulance, then it would be perfectly legal for them to decide not to transport him. If he would really be in their way and prevent them from doing their jobs, then that would be considered a "fundamental alteration of services" and the US Dept of Justice says that is a legal reason for denying access. 

However, simply deciding that the EMT is all the medical equipment I need is not a legal reason for denying access. I am not aware of any cases involving paramedics but there was a case not that long ago where a hospital denied access and refused to allow a patient's SD while she was an inpatient, saying the staff could do everything her SD would do for her, and the court disagreed. She won her case and the court said a hospital could not have a blanket policy like that and that they would need a specific reason to deny a SD and that hospital staff cannot necessarily do everything a SD does for a handler. I'm betting a court would say the same about EMT's, and EMT's don't know a handler well enough to make that judgement.


  1. Replies
    1. I think so, too. I mean, I know the rights of people with disabilities are violated all the time. It's not only on ambulances. Look at the recent story about the man that had to crawl off an airplane. But yeah, it's terrifying.