There was an incident that took place at a nursing home, where an 87-year-old woman was struggling to breathe for some time and after few moments stopped breathing. However, a nurse available nearby refused to perform CPR. She told that the facility cannot be provided as the rules are against it. It was sad that the woman died before emergency service could arrive at the spot.
This led to a debate in the nursing home about the CPR Law and the policies of various health care facilities. Many people raised the question whether any one can jump and perform CPR if he does not happen to be medical professional. In such condition the person may get sued.
This is very pertinent question. American Heart Association encourages and promotes people to provide CPR services to any affected person who are not in any medical profession. As cardiac arrest can take place anywhere and at any time, where there is chance that there are no medical professionals available nearby.
Only people around can save the person by providing CPR service till the emergency medical team arrives at the scene. As per the study, brain death does not happen within 4 to 6 minutes after cardiac arrest and therefore during that time if the person does not immediately get CPR, then there is every likelihood that the person will die. Therefore, any bystander near the patient can make a difference between life and death.
However, if providing CPR by any non-medical person is against law then no one will come forward to help the victim. Following are few facts about CPR related law.
- Whether you will be sued for providing CPR will depend upon where you are and in fact, who you are?
- Under the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act provides immunity to any CPR administer against any civil charges however not to those who do wilful misconduct or are showing negligence.
- The law regarding CPR varies from state to state
- Most of the states protects the person who provides use of an AED or CPR
- If you are a medical professional, some states will allow you to carry out CPR
- In Vermont if bystanders do not provide any assistance then he will be fined $100
Usually law protects any bystander if they perform CPR on any affected person. You need to ask for permission from the affected person before offering to perform CPR. If the person is not able to respond then the consent is implied.
Law will not protect you, if you have no knowledge about CPR and yet jump to save the victim. Also due to your ignorance you try to choke the patient instead of saving him and if you are non-medical person and show reckless behaviour.
However, if your intention was to help a person when he or she was in distress and you tried to the best of your ability then no law will prosecute you. However, you must know what you are doing. It is not necessary that you must be a medical professional.