Many people are afraid to get CPR training for one of two reasons. Some people are afraid of getting sued if they administer CPR to someone and something goes wrong. Others are afraid that they will become legally obligated to help someone, including strangers, even if they don't want to help them. If you've been afraid to get CPR training because of either of these reasons, read more to find out how the law protects you.
Are You Afraid That You Could Get Sued For Administering CPR And Something Goes Wrong?
All states have what are known as "Good Samaritan" laws, which protect bystanders who try to help someone. Good Samaritan laws vary from state to state, but there are some basic facts that you need to know before you decide to give someone CPR.
- You can't help someone who doesn't want your help. If the person is unconscious, however, the law says that you don't require his or her permission, unless you see something that says DNR on it. DNR stands for "do not resuscitate," which means that you know that he or she has made a decision to refuse CPR.
- You have to be reasonably careful. It's not uncommon for someone to end up with a broken rib from CPR. That doesn't mean that you weren't reasonably careful. Just don't try something outside of your training, like pounding on the person's chest with your fists in an attempt to get his or her heart to start beating.
- You can't act in the hope of a reward. The law only protects you if you don't have any expectation of being paid for you help.
- Once you start CPR, you can't stop until you either can't safely continue, are physically incapable of continuing, or someone else takes over. The only exception is if you see a DNR card or jewelry on someone while you are trying to administer CPR. If you do, you should stop CPR immediately.
Are You Afraid That The Law Will Require You To Give CPR To Someone If You Know CPR?
Whether or not you administer CPR to someone who has quit breathing is up to you in 49 out of the 50 states. The only state that actually requires you to assist someone in an emergency is Vermont. In Vermont, if you don't help someone who needs your help you are subject to a $100 fine, but that includes all types of help, not just CPR.
One reason that a lot of people fear that they would be obligated to help a stranger who needs CPR is that they are afraid of contracting a disease.
It's true that there are some illnesses that can be transmitted orally, and if you don't feel comfortable taking a risk, you don't have to administer CPR.
Exceptions To The Rule
There are times when you might be required to render aide to a person, but the law would require you to do so even if you didn't know CPR. If you are a medical professional, an employer, a parent, or you caused the situation, you have a "duty to act," and have to provide help.
Why Should You Learn CPR?
CPR allows you to quickly get oxygen to someone's brain after he or she has stopped breathing, which is critical. A person's brain can only go without oxygen for 1 minute before brain damage begins.
The odds are very good that your CPR training will benefit someone that you love. For instance, 88% of cardiac arrests happen to people at home, with their families.
Also, if the person who stopped breathing is a stranger, you won't have to stand by, helpless to assist, while you watch him or her die.
Learning CPR, and encouraging your friends and family members to learn CPR, is the best resource that you have for keeping someone that you know or love from permanent brain damage or death. If you've been afraid to learn CPR because you are worried about what can happen to you, legally speaking, once you do, rest easy. There are laws in place to protect you. Keep this information in mind, and look for CPR classes from a company like Respond Systems Alaska.