WTVM 3/8/13 Editorial: Save a life, or risk being sued? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

WTVM 3/8/13 Editorial: Save a life, or risk being sued?

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(WTVM) -

The recent refusal by a California nurse to perform CPR on a dying patient prompted outrage across the country and left many in the valley wondering about the laws here when it comes to helping someone in need.

In the California case, an 87-year-old woman collapsed at a retirement home. Her caretakers called 911 but because of policy at the facility, refused the dispatcher's pleas to start CPR until paramedics arrived.

"Is there anyone who will perform CPR, someone who works there, a passerby, can you grab someone off the street? I bet they'd be willing to help her," asked the dispatcher.   

"Not at this time," her caretakers responded.

The woman died before paramedics got there.

Facilities in some states have these kinds of policies in place to protect themselves from lawsuits, but had this happened in Georgia things could have been different.

Georgia's Good Samaritan law protects people from liability when they act in an emergency to try to help someone - as long as they're not getting paid.

But Alabama's Good Samaritan act is different; it only protects medically trained employees.

While this woman's death is a tragedy for her family, what may be even more tragic is the fact that people may have to choose between saving a life or being sued.


General Manager Lee Brantley brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906

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