The incident in California regarding a nurse not preforming CPR on an 87 year old nursing home resident after the 911 dispatcher asked her to, has stirred up some controversy.
What does CPR Boston suggest you do in a situation like this?
First and foremost, know and follow your company’s policy on performing CPR and the use of an AED. If you don’t understand the policy ‘ask’ and do not sign any agreement until you understand the policy in its entirety.
If the policy states you are not to preform CPR then you should NOT preform CPR. The policy will cover you and in this particular case in California the policy did just that. No charges will be filed against the nurse or the nursing facility.
What about preforming CPR outside of my company how does that work?
Under the 2000 Federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, Congress gave immunity from civil damages to people administering CPR or an automatic external defibrillator (AED), with exceptions in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct.
All states have a Good Samaritan law that grants some immunity protection for preforming CPR and using the AED however they do vary. For example, in the state of Vermont you could be fined up to $100 for not providing reasonable assistance and in Minnesota not assisting could be a misdemeanor. In some European countries, failing to help someone in need is a criminal offense. Helping may be defined as a simple call to 911. Again, you need to know what the laws state no matter where you are.
The bottom line is, always follow your companies policy first. If there isn’t a policy or if you are not at work, CPR Boston highly recommends you follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines for preforming CPR.
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