What seemed like a good public relations idea for one EMS provider has turned into a legal nightmare. Dolor EMS created an EMS uniform shirt with pain level faces screen printed to the chest. Within one week the EMS director has been hit with lawsuits.The idea for the shirts came after EMTs had to deal with people who had limited ability to communicate. In theory the EMT could ask the person to point to the part of the body that hurt and then point to the face describing the pain level. The faces were to represent the levels of pain on a scale of no pain to excruciating pain.
The EMS director was approached by a group of male EMTs asking if they could make a pain face t-shirt. They guys made up a sample shirt and tested it on shift. After a few weeks of successful tests the Dolor EMS director gave the okay for them to be used as uniform option for all EMTs/Paramedics in the city. That was when the trouble started.
For most females the faces sit squarely over the breast area. The “no pain” and the “excruciating pain” face on many women was right over the “nipple zone”.
One anonymous Paramedic said, “I had that dam shirt on for half a shift. We had five calls. All five pointed to zero or excruciating. All five pointed with a bit too much of a touch.”
The shirts are no longer uniform options for the city EMS workers. Many volunteer EMTs from other area rescue squads have asked about getting the shirts so Dolor EMS is selling them as fun novelty drinking t-shirts to pay for all legal fees.