I don’t really understand this question, or more accurately, the thinking behind the advice.  This question comes from a St John volunteer; I don’t know from which state or territory but it doesn’t matter.

I’m a volunteer with St. John and I wondered, from a legal perspective, is it ok if when I treat a patient I get them to write their own personal details on the casualty report form?  I have been told we can’t get the patient to fill in their details.

As I said I don’t understand the thinking behind this at all so I got back to my correspondent and asked if the person who had given that advice had given any reason – the response was ‘the only reasoning is because it’s a legal document’.

It is a ‘legal document’ means, in my view, that it is, in law, a document – and nothing more.  All documents are ‘legal documents’ in the right context.   Patient care records are written for a number of reasons – see First aid patient records – who and what are they for? (January 31, 2015), the law is only one and in most, if not all cases, the least important.  For whatever purposes the records are put, it is most important that they are accurate.  Asking the patient to complete the personal details, name, address, date of birth, phone number etc surely means it’s more likely to be accurate.  No risk of mishearing what they said or misspelling something.

I can imagine there can be clinical issues. If the person needs to cooperate with the first aider giving treatment or is distracted or affected by their injury, illness, drugs or alcohol you may not want to ask them to also fill in a form, but if we assume that none of that applies, I can see no objection from a legal point of view of asking ‘them to write their own personal details on the casualty report form’.   I just can’t imagine what the person who gave that advice was thinking or why they think there’s some legal issue.