Highly technical and invasive medical procedures carried out by non-qualified health care workers seriously injure thousands of Americans every year. Many discussions continue to revolve around medical assistant duties and what they can and cannot legally do. Among these hotly debated issues is whether they are allowed to start and disconnect IV lines, take radiological images, insert urinary catheters, administer Botox® injections, or conduct phototherapy in a UV booth, or triage. In general medical assistants cannot do the following tasks:
Medical assistants are often asked to administer injections, e.g. vaccines, medications, hormones, B12, and intradermal injections like TB skin and allergy scratch testing. In order to do this, they must be fully trained, competent, directly supervised and it must be permitted by state law. Medical assistants can give any of these injections only if the doctor is present. He/she doesn’t have to literally be standing over the medical assistant observing the procedure, but must have a.) given the order, b.) verified the dose, and c.) be present and reachable at the spur of a moment. Any medical assistant who administers injections without a doctor’s orders, or a doctor present, even if it is to an already established patient who had the same injection many times before, is in violation of the law. Also, there has been a lot of controversy around medical assistants giving botox injections and starting and discontinuing IV lines however the law remains fuzzy on these.