CPR and other basic lifesaving skills are an invaluable asset that everyone should have knowledge of. They empower people to react in emergency situations where they can offer support in the time between an incident happening and help arriving. This is training that the large majority of people are capable of completing.
And yet, many are hesitant to receive it. Even those who have it sometimes hesitate to use it.
Why? Because of liability and responsibility. In emergency situations, a person’s life and well-being typically hang in the balance. What happens if you injure a person? Or fail to keep them alive till help arrives? If you have training, are you obligated to respond to an emergency situation?
Let’s take a look.
Can I Be Sued for Providing CPR?
Generally speaking, no, someone cannot sue you for you saving their life. If a person is experiencing cardiac arrest, they will most likely die without CPR. Though CPR can cause the bruising and even breaking of ribs, the average person would not attempt to sue you if you kept them from dying.
And even if they did, there are laws in place to protect you.
A Good Samaritan law is a type of law present in all 50 states. These laws grant you immunity in situations where you were attempting to save the life of a person. Even if you don’t have official training, you’re protected under these laws.
That said, actual training will greatly increase your effectiveness, boost your confidence, and reduce the risk of injuring someone.
Am I Legally Obligated to Perform CPR if I Have Training?
If you live in the state of Vermont, under their Good Samaritan laws, you can actually be fined for not responding to an emergency situation if you have certification in it. For the rest of the states, you are only obligated if it’s a part of your job.
Regardless, if you have the ability to help someone in need, you should.
What if the Person Doesn’t Want CPR?
If the person who’s experiencing cardiac arrest does not want CPR, then you should respect their wishes. In specific cases, a person might be a part of a DNAR (Do Not Attempt Resuscitation) program that’s noted by a piece of medical jewelry or in their wallet. This is typically for a person who has a terminal illness, though it can be for other reasons too.
However, the likeliness of this happening is pretty rare.
The First Thing You Should Always Do
Regardless of your training, concerns, or experience, the first thing you should always do is call for help. Once help is on the way, you can act from there. CPR’s purpose is not necessarily to revive as much as sustain until help arrives.
To make sure you’re ready for an emergency situation, get your CPR and first aid certification. MN residents can schedule classes right here at MMTS. Visit our Public Classes page to sign up or contact us directly, and we can come to you.
Have further questions about CPR liabilities? Ask below!