Law protects Georgians who help people in distress - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Law protects Georgians who help people in distress

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Earlier this week, the 911 phone call of a nurse refusing to help an elderly woman at an assisted living facility in California sent shock waves through the country.

At the Gardens of Calvary in Columbus, however, things work differently. Executive director Lisa Dodgen says that they go by state rules when it comes to giving care to people at their facility. 

"We must upon move-ins discuss advanced directives with elders moving into the personal care homes or the assisted living so that gives an opportunity right up front to explain what their wishes are," Dodgen said. 

Dodgen says that they have to respond accordingly because of specific requests that each patient may have. She says staff must act immediately if any patient is in distress. 

"If we walk in and an elder is having chest pains or shortness of breath we are going to call 911 and take care of that," she said.  

The facility in California originally said they did not allow its staff to perform CPR because of possible lawsuits. The parent company clarified this on Wednesday, stating that they do provide care by waiting with a distressed patient until further assistance arrives.

In Georgia some are protected from that by the Good Samaritan law. It protects you from liability when you lend a helping hand, as long as you're not getting paid to help.  

Dodgen told News Leader 9 that their reactions are based on a patient's DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate file. 

"If we have a valid do not resuscitate order in a personal care home or in an assisted living facility in Georgia, we are able to honor that," Dodgen said. 

This law applies at all facilities throughout the state of Georgia. 

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