good Samaritan or emergency care doctrine

  1. A nurse comes upon a traffick accident where there are injured unconscious people lying on the highway. The nurse is aware that first aid interventions are sanctioned by:
    a. Good Samaritan act
    B. Emergency care doctrine.

    Thank you in advance for your help.
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   Little Panda RN
    I would say #a. I have never heard of the emergency care doctrine. When I took CPR we talked about the good samaritan act but the emergency care doctrine was never mentioned. I live in North Dakota but maybe it is different in other states. Hopefully others will have some insight about this.
  4. by   Kristi Lee
    I should have explained a little more, sorry, in emergencies some patients may not be able to consent to care. In such cases treatment can be provided under
    the assumption (called the emergency doctrine) that the patient would have consented if able.
  5. by   vm56
    kristy,
    the good samaritan act does not sanction anything, it is simply a vague language description of how you should not be sued because you were being nice, tried to help and failed... oops
    no liability for emergency aid unless gross negligence ... death of that person caused by the person's act or omission in rendering the medical services or ... the link below will tell you all about it.
    [color=#339900]http://www.flsenate.gov/statutes/ind...0768/sec13.htm

    just remember it all comes down to "if it makes you feel good ... do it"
    i mean you are the one who has to live with your decision, right or wrong. i have pushed the envelope several times and would do it again, and yes, they can have my license etc. but i will have a clear conscience.

    i can see by the caliber of questions and testing methods that nursing school remains somewhat archaic… and ambivalent.
    the answer is a

    good luck
  6. by   Little Panda RN
    Quote from Kristi Lee
    I should have explained a little more, sorry, in emergencies some patients may not be able to consent to care. In such cases treatment can be provided under
    the assumption (called the emergency doctrine) that the patient would have consented if able.

    Oh I understand now. When a patient is unconcious you then can assume implied consent. We did talk about this during our CPR class. Even though it is considered implied consent we still are responsible for our actions. If harm comes to the person due to our negligence then we can be sued. Hope this helps
  7. by   Little Panda RN
    Oh yeah and I believe then the answer would be #b since we assume implied consent on an unconscious person.
  8. by   vm56
    Ooooops !!!

    The key here is The Good Samaritan act does not sanction anything, therefore the answer is B, my typing error. sorry.
  9. by   MereSanity
    Of course if you are driving by an accident and decide not to stop and help and someone recognizes you and says "oh that lady/man is a nurse and they didn't stop to help"...you can get sued for that also. So, I guess you just can't win.
  10. by   Dixielee
    I don't know about the emergency care doctrine but I was always under the impression that the good Samaritan act was to cover anyone who acted in a "reasonable and prudent manner" regardless of medical training. I think as long as we acted within those vague parameters we would be OK. No, I do not think we can be sued if we drive by a car wreck and do not stop to render aid. If I was in a position to do so, I would, but sometimes it would be dangerous for you to try to stop. If I did try to render aid and went outside my scope of practice, say trying to intubate someone, or stick a Bic pen in a chest to relieve a tension pneumothorax, I might be in a liability situation. I would do whatever I could if it was a family member, but a stranger???? I would however, support the patient with what I could until EMS arrived.

    In CPR classes we have discussed ethics. If you do not have a pocket mask, are you obligated to do mouth to mouth on someone? What if they were bleeding or more likely vomiting? Do you put your life in danger to help another? The general concensus has been, it is up to the individual. You are not obligated to do it.

    I don't have any answers, mostly questions, and hope I do not find myself in such a situation.
  11. by   ragingmomster
    On another note, you could be in deep doo-doo if you stop to offer help and then hand off care to an EMT. If you take the patient (stop for a roadside assist), you stay with the patient to the ER, and hand over care to someone with a larger education than you. Please no flames, my hubby is an EMT and a great one, but as an RN with 4 years education and 15 years experience I can be held liable if something happens to the patient that I handed over to an EMT with 1 year of school no matter how much experience s/he has.
  12. by   Princess74
    I'm taking ethics next semester. This is a very interesting topic.
  13. by   teeituptom
    I see accidents and such, and I never stop to see if help is needed. I just keep going my way.
    Now I have a friend who cariies and large medical kit in his trunk and stopps all the time, I dont even carry gloves, except for golf gloves.
  14. by   vm56
    if you drive by a crash site (two or more vehicles acting stupid to cause a crash, no accident) and do not bother to stretch your neck and look, just drive on you will have no one to answer to, but your conscience.
    on the other hand, if you happen to look and say “wow there is injuries and that one looks unconscious …” now technically you have started tx, initial assessment has been done.
    now if you keep on driving we could call that abandonment….
    what we need is to use common sense and ‘just do it!!’
    it was just this lack of common sense and worrying about what act, statue, or law we might be treading on that brought the slow to no response to katrina.
    a nyway, next time your first thought should be, - can i live with the decision i am about to make? if the answer is yes, then you have nothing to worry about.
    just my 2cents:innerconf

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