THE CPR GALS
The Good Samaritan Laws
The Good Samaritan Laws
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some type of Good Samaritan law.
The details of Good Samaritan laws vary by jurisdiction, including who is protected
from liability and under what circumstances.
Generally speaking, these laws prevent a rescuer who has voluntarily helped
a stranger in need from being sued for wrongdoing.
A Good Samaritan acts in good faith (not for reward of any sort).
You are generally protected from liability as long as you act "as a reasonable and prudent person
would in the same or similar circumstance".
A "reasonable and prudent person" would introduce himself, ask permission
to give care, work up to his level of training, move the person only if the scene becomes unsafe,
you need to get to someone who is more seriously injured or in order to provide proper care,
check the person for "life threatening" illness or injury, Call 9-1-1 if needed,
and continue to give care until advanced medical care can take over for you.
A couple of things to keep in mind -
Standard of care. This is the level of emergency care that you are expected
to provide, based on the level of your training, and with a response that
a reasonable person in the same circumstances would use.
If a person’s actions do not meet this standard, then the acts may be considered negligent,
and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence.
Negligence. This occurs when an injured or ill person incurs proven damage from a trained person
who has a duty to act and the person does not uphold the standard of care.
Confidentiality. A person has the right for his name and medical history
to remain confidential among care providers. Only share information you have received
from the victim with the 9-1-1 operator, the EMS crew or Law Enforcement who arrive
on scene to take over for you.
The regulation in the United States that governs confidentiality is the Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act, which is commonly referred to as the HIPAA law.
Write a Report
If you ever stop and help someone, within 24 hours, write down what happened.
Your memory is still pretty accurate about the details when the event is fresh.
Start with "what caused you to think this was an emergency" and write down
everything you can remember.
Document why you did what you did, and why you did not do what you did not do
(for example - I did not initially do rescue breathing because I did not have a breathing barrier.
As soon as one arrived, I started breathing for the victim).
Be as thorough and as accurate as possible.
When you are finished, sign and date your report. Keep it in a safe place.
If you are sued, get out the report, reread it (all the details will come back
to you) and then be sure to take it to court with you to show the Judge.
If you suspect there may be some "trouble" after the incident has happened,
write your report as soon as possible, then consult an attorney for advice.