Good Sam Laws and Invasive Procedures

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by docB, Aug 2, 2006.

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  1. docB

    docB Chronically painful Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    There was a point raised on the Needle vs. Chest Tube thread that I though was interesting and I didn’t want to hijack that thread so here we are.

    So if any of these people ever needled a chest in civilian life as a bystander would they still fall under the Good Samaritan Law? Usually when we’re talking about people doing invasive stuff in the field, even if they are trained to do it, it’s still a non-issue because the equipment is not available. I can see how someone, particularly someone with the personality to overreact in a situation, might walk around with an angiocath and do this. Or use a knife to cric someone or whatever.

    I’ve often heard the protection of the Good Sam Laws and covering anyone who tries to help without payment, without a duty to act and up to the lever of their training. Are they covered? It’s a cop out to say that they’re covered if they’re successful and not if they kill someone.
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  3. SoCuteMD

    SoCuteMD 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    No more rounding!
    I guess the answer hinges on whether this extra training applies in the civilian world. If it does, then legally they should be protected by the Good Samaritan law.
  4. I'd say it's negligent homicide or manslaughter if they do something that speeds up the patient's demise.
  5. margaritaboy

    margaritaboy Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2003
    The Desert
    You mean, like doing CPR on someone and inadvertantly lacerating the liver, thus accelerating that person's demise?

    Jesus. That is pretty harsh. I'd hate to think that I could be trying to help someone and that I could later be prosecuted for NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE. :(

    DocB, I say you're covered regardless of outcome, but I'm obviously not thinking like a lawyer. If it is my ass on the ground and I'm not breathing, please do what you have to fix me in the few seconds or minutes my brain has before it becomes anoxic and dies. I won't sue.
  6. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas. 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    What we were told was that any Army training that we receive does not apply in the civilian world. Any civilian training that we get through the Army is applicable, however you should know the limits of your scope of practice as well as regional laws. They told us that if you do an invasive procedure on a civilian, then you can and probably will be sued. It's not our place to do those things.
  7. No, I meant like doing a needle decompression as a first responder or cric'ing someone. I know how to crack a chest, but knowing how doesn't imply that I should. That's what I meant. Doing CPR is a standard of care. Going cowboy and playing trauma god is not.
  8. mikecwru

    mikecwru M.D. = Massive Debt 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2002
    I thought you were an RT? God, you're obnoxious.
  9. I am.....I was implying I know how to crack a chest meaning I could probably do it, but it's not a good idea for me to do so because I don't have the educational level to manage anything once I do it. I figured it was an apt example since we're discussing people overstepping their bounds by doing things they have no business doing.

    You find me obnoxious, eh? That's your problem, not mine. *shrugs* :rolleyes:
  10. EM_Rebuilder

    EM_Rebuilder Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    I think Good Sam Laws are state specific in that each state has their particulars about them...but I am not 100% sure about that.

    As we were told in Texas by some lunch time lawyer speaker...

    In the field, doctors are expected to provide a 'better form of care' yet we cannot be held liable for anything that happens, HOWEVER, if the patient is 'your patient' then you CAN be liable. I asked, well what if I am an Emergency Medicine Physician, techincally you could say that every patient in that community is mine.. he was not sure how to answer. He was more implying to the FP who happens to stop and know a patient is his.. in that case, supposedly, your actions can be held against you in court if you do something wrong... He then also said, as an EM trained doctor, you should be better skilled in the field than many other doctors, yet did not really know the legal issues about it...
  11. BKN

    BKN Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Here's a hijack. When I was in the AF, the NCO club was at the other end of the base. We tried to make it clear that it was a real bad idea to get drunk enough to fall off your stool there, cause somebody was gonna break your ribs doing compressions.
  12. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    If things go well with the procedure, Good Samaritan law applies. If things go poorly, only the jury can decide.
  13. docB

    docB Chronically painful Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Cop out! :cool:
  14. BKN

    BKN Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Actually, I'm pretty sure that would not be a jury issue. I think a judge would decide it. Where's the student lawyer board.
  15. blotto geltaco

    blotto geltaco Old-timer 10+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 1999
    lol, what a joke.

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