Good Samaritan Law: Does it protect and off duty EMT?

WuLabsWuTecH

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Question:

Everybody around here says that good Samaritan laws do not apply to off duty EMS personnel. Which is why we are taught, if you stop to help, you do so at your own risk. But I decided to read the actual law today and it states as such:

----------(From the Ohio Revised Code)-----------

2305.23 Liability for emergency care.

No person shall be liable in civil damages for administering emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctor’s office, or other place having proper medical equipment, for acts performed at the scene of such emergency, unless such acts constitute willful or wanton misconduct.

Nothing in this section applies to the administering of such care or treatment where the same is rendered for remuneration, or with the expectation of remuneration, from the recipient of such care or treatment or someone on his behalf. The administering of such care or treatment by one as a part of his duties as a paid member of any organization of law enforcement officers or fire fighters does not cause such to be a rendering for remuneration or expectation of remuneration.

Effective Date: 08-18-1977

--------------End Copy---------------

So based on that, I'm just wondering if anyone else interpreted it as not covering off-duty EMTs since we are not rendering aid for remuneration?

I'm wondering if this that they are teaching us is just a myth that has been handed down for so long that it has become ingrained in our collective mind?

Thanks,
-Wu
 

MS Medic

Forum Captain
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My understanding of that law and my own states good sam law states that you are covered if you render aid while not on duty. The caveat is that you do not have med jurisdiction at that point and should not be doing more than basic first aid/BLS care.
 

Epi-do

I see dead people
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Good sam laws vary from state to state, but I can tell you that in IN, you are covered by the law as long as you are only performing first aid. Once you cross the line into doing things that are required to have medical direction (on or off line) then you are on your own.
 

MedicBrew

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Good sam laws vary from state to state, but I can tell you that in IN, you are covered by the law as long as you are only performing first aid. Once you cross the line into doing things that are required to have medical direction (on or off line) then you are on your own.

Thats the way it works here in the Okie state.

There is no requirement to even stop if you choose not to..
 

TyBigz

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In mass the good Samaritan law only covers you if you are off duty. You are covered as long as you are reasonable and serious about your treatments. My teacher from class used to always say as long as your not doing cpr with a plunger your good.
 

Handsome Robb

Youngin'
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My teacher from class used to always say as long as your not doing cpr with a plunger your good.

Dang, I've been doing it wrong all this time!?!? :ph34r:
 

Handsome Robb

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Looks like its time to take the plunger off your rig :p

Along with the hatchet...don't ask why we have it, none of us have been able to figure out the answer to that one.

Like everyone said, good sam laws vary pretty widely from state to state.

Most I have read do cover off-duty EMTs provided you don't do anything above basic first aid.
 

medicdan

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Last edited by a moderator:

mycrofft

Still crazy but elsewhere
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1. Done without expectation of remuneration.
2. Done in good faith (no ulterior motive)
3. Measures taken commensurate with any threat, not excessive.
4. Prudent actions within the individual's training.
5. Done in absence of superior medical authority.

Unofficially:
6. It's done so that it works.
7. It's done without driving around in a private car with lights, monitor radio, extrication equipment, drugs, oxygen...e.g., "trolling" or freelancing.<_<

Now, if you are trained as an EMT, you can perform very basic stuff (and to very good effect), but use of EMT level skills without medical authority is dicey. The basis for performance as an EMT IS within a set of protocols and under medical authority, right? You probably shouldn't hold that level of equipment when off duty anyway. There are a lot of wrinkles, but the rule of thumb is don't go overboard, make sure it is proportionate and prudent, and surrender to arriving medical forces like on-duty EMT's paramedics etc.

Licensed and sworn people like MD"s, RN's are held to a slightly different standard, but rule of thumb applies anyway.
 

ITBITB13

Forum Lieutenant
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Would using a bvm fall under using emt-level skills? I work as a privately contracted emt, therefore usually carry my trauma bag around in my trunk. Would I void my good Sam law coverage if I pull out a bvm and bp cuff on a mva on the side of the road? I live in CA, by the way.
 

mycrofft

Still crazy but elsewhere
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Pragmatically, if it saved a life, you can probably get away with it. BVM is taught to emergency first responders here, everything above basic and professional first aid (I would have to review my ARC CPRO book, maybe taught to professional CPR students too, been a while). As long as measures to get better care are not sacrificed to taking vitals and such, it will look and probably work out ok. BVM is also non-invasive, but the airway to make it work better is.

If you customarily drive around with the kit because of a very dual area or sue such, probably it would be taken into consideration.

Probably.
 

bigbaldguy

Former medic seven years 911 service in houston
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I'm not sure what using a Bp cuff in this situation would accomplish. In theory it might save the arriving crew a minute or two but they will mostly take their own anyway. I can't see how it would get you in trouble though since it is non invasive and well within your scope.

On the other hand a BVM is something that could very well make a big difference in the patients outcome so let look at this from another angle. If you were onscene and the patient was not breathing how would you justify not using a BVM? If you have it with you and truly know how to use it and are aware that using it is more effective than hands only CPR or using a one way mask you might actually run into trouble if you chose not to use it on the patient. At that point you're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't. On the one hand you might get sued because you did too much and on the other you might get sued if you did too little. This is why many providers don't carry a kit with them. The more stuff you have with you the more stuff you have to either use or justify not using.

Remember the good Sam law does not protect you from being sued it just protects you from being liable. They can still sue you they just won't be able to get a judgment in their favor.
 

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