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Aid to injured in the USA? Answered

This isn't a technical question as such but I just watched an episode of NCIS where an ex Marine medic was arrested for giving aid to some people injured in a car crash. Is this the case in the USA that without being a registered medic your not allowed by law to help others?

I have just completed CPR and Defibrillation training, (we have just installed one in our village), Here in England you would be expected to do your best, if that resulted in a bad result even death no one could successfully sue you, in fact we were told that if we called 999 (equivalent to 111)   we would be covered by the paramedic insurance as you would be working under their instruction.

In Scotland and France you are required by Law to give assistance. You can be sued if you withhold aid to an injured person.

Just curious.

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Vyger

Best Answer 3 years ago

It depends on which state (of the USA) that you live in. Many of the states have passed what are called good Samaritan laws. When I took advanced first aid classes we specifically went over this. My state, Montana, has such laws. They state that a person trying to help another in an emergency situation cannot be held liable for rendering such aid even if doing so causes harm. So for example if I pull someone from a burning car who has a spine injury and my removing them from the car causes them to become paralyzed I am not liable for damages. I did the best I knew how in an emergency and rendered the aid that I could. The law says I did the right thing. But it does vary by state.

TV is not always correct. And some shows/writers appear to go out of their way to be incorrect. For instance, the really stupid run away train thing. The engine becomes disconnected from the cars and they go flying down the track out of control. NO, NO, NO, . The breaks work the opposite of a cars. The break is kept off by compressed air from the locomotive. If it becomes detached the breaks, all of them, go ON. They figured this out long ago to prevent cars from rolling away in the rail yard. But the writers can't be bothered to look up a silly thing like that which will mess up their story.

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rickharris

3 years ago

Thanks to all who answered - TV writers! HA!

You have all satisfied my curiosity, I just wondered how far out the script actually was. Not that I believe that a law enforcement agency always solves all their crimes in 1 hour!.

Hard to pick a best answer but i like to close questions so sorry to those I can't tag as best answer.

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Metal_maestro

3 years ago

The simple answer to your question is yes, it is against the law to render a certain level of medical aid without proper certification.

Much like anyone practicing medicine has to be a board certified doctor. Providing anything more than basic first aid requires certification and the training that comes with that. And just like doctors if you provide aid above your certification you get into heaps of trouble for impersonating a medical professional, or preforming medical procedures without certification.

I've seen the episode of the show you're referencing, and if memory serves, the issue had to do with which military field medics training is equivalent to civilian EMT certification. Since according to the episode, a Navy Corpsmen (the US Marine Corps doesn't have medics of their own and has to borrow them from the US Navy) aren't considered EMT certified. Basically they can and do treat the wounds of battle, but would be considered criminals for treating wounds in a civilian car crash with the same techniques.

Basically what it all boils down to is the world has become so litigious that you must consult a lawyer, or barrister in the UK, before engaging in any action to understand your legal liability.

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rickharrisMetal_maestro

Answer 3 years ago

The question was explicitly asked of the trainer and he said "you would be considered to be acting in the best interest of the patient by doing your best even if not qualified". In this case we are talking cardiac arrest so he said anything you do is not going to make the situation worse and when you call 999 your then acting under the guidance of the paramedics.

The defibrillator machine is intelligent and gives pictorial and vocal instructions anyway.

I wouldn't have thought the civalised world was so different.

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Metal_maestrorickharris

Answer 3 years ago

I'm sure the rules for AED machines are different. As they are built for the average person to operate. One of my past employers had several AED's which all employees were trained to use. And there are several public spaces where I have noticed them. Using one when it is needed is probably thought of differently than using a BIC pen and my pocket knife to give someone a tracheotomy.

An interesting but somewhat related tangent. It is illegal, at the very least in my home state of Washington if not the entire US, to help anyone who has crashed in the side of the road due to snow or ice. As someone who has gotten stuck in the snow on a hand-full of occasions I have empathy for anyone else who is. Yet if I help someone stuck in the snow as a good Samaritan I could be arrested for reasons I don't understand. Sometimes it's just better to not go outside.

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iceng

3 years ago

That is strange, here in Nevada i was a certified EMT and we have a good samaritan law to protect people who give aid...

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icengiceng

Answer 3 years ago

When there is an emergency and minutes count, you may be the only individual on site who can provide any aid... You should do so within your abilities and training...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Samaritan_law

I'm aghast that an Australian judge would punish people for taking a smoker out of his car as in the Downunder example.. Maybe wiki is wrong on Australia's laws.

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rickharrisiceng

Answer 3 years ago

I am astounded a law has to be passed to protect someone offering a
helping hand in distress. It should be a matter of common sense.

I would have thought standing by whilst a car bursts into flames was a much bigger case for 2 degree murder by inaction.

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Downunder35m

3 years ago

Back in the days before everyone needed lawyers to sort basic problems helping people after a car accident was the best thing to do.
In fact I did it mayn times and it might have saved a life or two.
In todays times however people are more grateful for money than help.
Her in Australia it is still possible to help but only if you really know what you are doing.
Good people ended up in court and losing everything just because they pulled someone out of a car wreck that was smoking.
The driver had caused the accident driving too fast on a bad road and with noone else to make pay he claimed on serious injuries caused by him being pulled out of the car.
The jugde confirmed that some of the injuries were extended based on the medical reports provided.
So a good family lost their home and life savings for doing the right thing.
Thing is you can't get written permission from an injured person to help them without ending in court, so most people no longer bother and simply watch or leave, like you see in these nice russian crash videos.
On the other side, back in Europe you can get into trouble for not offering first aid or help after a serious accident.
Here it is alomost always considere to be better to help saving a life even it might cause more injury due to the type of accident.
Guess it somehow goes along with how the police treats accidents too.
In Europe you collect demerit points even for a simple bumper bang at the traffic lights, here in AU you can crash one car after the other without penalties as long as you don't speed or actually kill someone.