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CPR and AED liability

Good Samaritan Law

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I get a ton of questions in my CPR Austin Tx classes about liability when helping a person in cardiac arrest. It all boils down to the “Good Samaritan Laws“. Each state is different, so you may need to check your local laws to see how they apply to you. I personally teach Austin CPR classes, so I am going to go with good ole’ Texas.

What is the Good Samaritan Law?

In a nut shell, they were made to protect those who are helping others who are hurt or injured; and reduce hesitation for fear of being prosecuted or personally sued in cases of an accidental injury, poor treatment, or even worse, death of the patient.

Now, is there any exceptions? You bet ya! But to be honest, I totally agree with them all!

First, if the actions are willingly or intentionally done to hurt the person or if there is no true danger and the person attempts to “rescue” the other person. For example, say there was a fender bender, no one is hurt, and someone comes along to “rescue” an uninjured victim in one of the damaged cars, and in doing so the victim is injured. This would possibly be ruled as reckless and unnecessary.

Second, if you are helping because you expect to be financially reimbursed. This is intended to protect patients in caregiver scenarios. For example, if you are in a hospital and the Doctor gives care that injures you, then the Doctor is not protected under the Law.

Third, it does not protect the person that “caused” the injuries in the first place. So, if you were at fault, you may not be protected. For example, if you intentionally shoot someone, and then turn around and try to provide care, you may not be legally safe if you accidentally break their neck.

One more thing i think should be noted.

If you begin giving aid to an injured person you can’t leave the scene unless:
– You need to call 911
– Another rescuer of equal or higher medical training takes your place
– Or, giving aid has become dangerous for you.

So, to summarize, a rescuer is not legally liable for any injuries and even death of the victim as long as the rescuer acts rationally, was trying to help, and according to their training.

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

About kristi

Kristi Krouse owns Heart Smart CPR, an American Heart Association Training Site in Austin Texas. The purpose of Heart Smart CPR is to teach individuals life-saving skills for both medical and non-medical providers in a relaxed yet concise manor. Kristi is dedicated to helping to get everyone certified by their deadline.

You can find out more about Heart Smart CPR here

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Have a Heart Healthy Day!

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