Friday, November 13, 2009

CPR Recertification and Michigan's "Good Samaritan" law

Today I completed my Red Cross CPR and AED recertifications offered through my law firm.

Surprisingly, while quite a number of secretaries and paralegals attended the recertification sessions I was the only lawyer.

It's important that once you've received first aid training that you attend the annual receetifications to get the latest updates in technique and review and refresh your training - a necessary task indeed as its easy to forget and thankfully I have not needed to administer CPR or use an AED on anyone this year.

It is also important to keep your certifications up-to-date because failure to do so may open yu to liability if you do administer first aid.

Michigan has a "good samaritan" statute that essentially relieves you from civil legal liability if you render first aid with a very important exception.

The statute, MCL 333.20965 states:
333.20965 Immunity from liability.

(1) Unless an act or omission is the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct, the acts or omissions of a medical first responder, emergency medical technician, emergency medical technician specialist, paramedic, medical director of a medical control authority or his or her designee, or, subject to subsection (5), an individual acting as a clinical preceptor of a department-approved education program sponsor while providing services to a patient outside a hospital, in a hospital before transferring patient care to hospital personnel, or in a clinical setting that are consistent with the individual's licensure or additional training required by the medical control authority including, but not limited to, services described in subsection (2) or consistent with an approved procedure for that particular education program do not impose liability in the treatment of a patient on those individuals or any of the following persons:
. . .

(2) Subsection (1) applies to services consisting of the use of an automated external defibrillator on an individual who is in or is exhibiting symptoms of cardiac distress.
Thus in Michigan you need not fear being sued for rendering first aid so long as you are not grossly negligent nor committing willful misconduct.

There's a darn good argument to be made that if you cause an injury while providing first aid with an expired certification for administering such aid, your actions do amount to gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Keep your first aid certifications current, apply care with consent and in accordance with your training, get the professionals there as soon as possible, and you'll be ok legal-wise, and hopefully you will help someone in distress be ok as well.

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