Imagine this — there’s two drunks fighting in the street and police are called to try to bring order to the situation.
While trying to make an arrest, the intoxicated duo team up on the lone officer, punching and kicking him in the face, head and body.
He continues to try to fend the attackers off until help arrives but in the meantime, he sustains cuts, bruises and a broken bone.
Police say nearly this exact circumstance played out in a Kamloops park Wednesday night, and the situation is under investigation.
You’d have to expect that with open cuts, there would be a risk that the officer might have come into contact with his attacker’s body fluids and as such could be exposed to diseases like HIV, and hepatitis B and C.
Now this is where it gets interesting. There is currently nothing on the law books that can force a person to provide a blood sample in such circumstances, which would clarify if the emergency responder had been exposed to disease.
So if a firefighter, paramedic or police officer does come in contact with blood or other bodily fluids, the only course of action is to start immediately taking medications as a precaution. For HIV, these drugs have to be taken for a six-month period and they have harsh side effects.
But a bill was introduced in the B.C. legislature this week that will give both emergency responders and Good Samaritans the ability to get a court order that forces another person to give a blood sample, if they refuse to do some voluntarily.
The Emergency Services Disclosure Act is expected to be enacted within a month and will allow a warrant to be obtained that forces a blood test, which will quickly offer peace of mind to those involved as they will know if they have been exposed to disease and take an appropriate course of action.
Such legislation, which already exists in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan, is overdue in B.C.
It will be a huge relief to those who put their lives on the line for the rest of us and we applaud government for taking this important step.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.