There have been an increasing number of police departments allowing their officers to draw blood samples from motorists under suspicion of a DUI/DWI. This takes place on the roadside as opposed to a hospital where there are trained medical professionals. It seems like a recipe for disaster to allow officers to do blood draws when they do not have adequate medical training. This has proven true in Arizona recently where a lawsuit has been filed to stop this practice.
According to Scripps News, a man developed a persistent infection at the site of a blood draw administered by a Pima County sheriff’s deputy. He has filed what is believed to be the first claim in Arizona against the practice, which could put local taxpayers on the hook for any damages.
Arizona law requires that drunken driving suspects submit to a test or lose their license for a year and it’s the officer’s choice, not the driver’s, whether to use a breath or a blood test.
Having officers draw blood has become more common recently because it makes it more difficult for people to defend themselves against DUI/DWI charges. Breathalyzers have proven to be wildly inaccurate and don’t hold up well in court so blood tests have become a more appealing option legally. But when dealing with a medical procedure like a blood draw, the focus should be on the well-being of the individual and not making sure the District Attorney can get a conviction. Officers without adequate medical training should not be playing around with people’s health, no matter the legal ramifications.