It’s a concern many people have when faced with a situation where they are required to provide CPR. If they are not qualified and end up hurting the patient, could they be charged?
The short answer is no.
The Good Samaritan Rule states that someone that comes to the aid of someone else in imminent danger or peril cannot be sued for wrongdoing or incorrect practices. This encourages people to act and not stand on the sidelines for fear of persecution.
Take this scenario: Jenny is not trained in CPR but decides to take action after an elderly neighbour goes into cardiac arrest. After calling the paramedics Jenny awkwardly begins CPR based on what she’s seen in the movies. Due to her overenthusiasm at getting CPR correct and her inexperience, Jenny accidentally cracks several of her neighbour’s ribs during compressions. Paramedics arrive and take over and the neighbour is transported to the hospital, where they recover from their cardiac arrest and are treated for the broken ribs. Jenny cannot be legally sued as her actions, though causing some injury, ensured that her neighbour survived the cardiac arrest. Similarly, Jenny cannot be sued if she didn’t take action if she did not have the mental capacity or training to act in the moment.
The opposite of this scenario would be if Jenny witnessed her neighbour going into cardiac arrest and decided to do nothing, even though she was fully qualified in CPR. This would mean Jenny could be sued for negligence as she had the proper training to act, yet chose not to.
At the end of the day, an injury is much more preferable than death and you should always act in an emergency scenario to do what you can. Of course, we always recommend that everyone undertakes CPR training so they are confident using their skills in the case of a cardiac arrest.
You can become proficient in CPR by booking one of our courses online here.