Good Samaritan Question

  1. I am reviewing for my NCLEX PN and I come across this yes or no question:

    An LPN/VN has the legal duty to provide Good Samaritan care at the scene of an accident.

    I understand that your are protected from legal liability when care is rendered except in gross negligence, compensation and performance of duty. But I was also taught that this act also states if you are a medical professional and you witness a medical emergency and do not render service until relieved by EMS, you can be held liable.

    I looked up the Good Samaritan Act and it states nothing to that effect, my question, is there such a law or act in existence?

    If there is, it kind of makes you live in fear every where you go.:uhoh21:

    Thanks in advance for your responses!
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   savedbutterfly
    No you do not have to provide care, but if you do you are usually protected by the good samaritan laws.
  4. by   ceecel.dee
    I would answer yes to the question.
    Living in fear seems a bit extreme to me...you would just do what you know should be done in any situation. Nurses provide care and do no harm...it does not require heroics.
  5. by   nur2007sing
    I believe this topic is state dependent. From the research, I found that you do not have the duty to act buy the duty to report (ie. calling the police).

    As a nurse, I would be very leary to render services if i drove by and saw a car accident. I say this because I read a story and I can't find it now about a nurse who helped at the scene of a car accident and moved a person away from their car because she felt the car would start on fire to the smell of gas. To make a long story short she was being sued because the lawyer felt that by moving the individual she caused further damage leaving him paralzed. I am not arguing the merits of this case or whether I argee or not.

    I am torn, I would want someone to help someone I love but I do not want to put myself in a law suit. I know the law is suppose to protect you but we all know that the judical system does not always do what it should do.
  6. by   SuesquatchRN
    Only on Seinfeld.
  7. by   savedbutterfly
    I think that the op wa talking about the NCLEX-Pn and the answer for testing purposes is no you do not have to render aid.
  8. by   km5v6r
    No, you do not have to legally render aid in any situation. This situation is debate frequently. Remember they would have to prove you were at the scene, have the appropriate knowledge base to render aid, the ability to do render aid and a license.

    Historically the Good Samaritian act has protected those providing aid in emergency situations. While lawyers may try and sue for bad outcomes the courts have always upheld the Good Samaritain act even when the situation was worsened because of the aid rendered. A case happened several years ago where an accident victem was moved without spine precautions and became paralyzed with the movement. The person didn't need to be moved and the resucers did it inappropriatly resulting in worsening injury. The court still found that they did the move with the intention of helping not harming the person and at the time the rescurers felt danger existed. The case was dismissed. The judge commented the Good Samaritian act must always be support even in situations that look like malpractice or negligence or we run the risk of no one ever rendering aid in any situation. Remember a lawyer can sue over anything. They just don't always win.

    What you do have to watch though is if you are covered under that states GSA. At one point some states would only cover those that were licensed in that state. For example if you hold a nursing license from another you weren't necessarily covered by that states GSA. That was several years ago and may have changed.
  9. by   ceecel.dee
    Wow...I'm surprised that more nurses don't feel they should help!
  10. by   savedbutterfly
    ceecel.dee i was not saying if I would stop or not I was answering the op question, as regards to a test question
  11. by   GooeyRN
    No, you do not have to help. If you choose to help, you are held to the same standards of care you would be while working. Do not do anything you are not licensed to do.
  12. by   jimthorp
    Quote from km5v6r
    Remember a lawyer can sue over anything. They just don't always win.

    :yeahthat:
  13. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from ceecel.dee
    Wow...I'm surprised that more nurses don't feel they should help!
    I always feel I should help. And I always remember that being sued results in MY having to hire an attorney to defend myself, regardless of the eventual outcome. So what if the prosecution doesn't win: I'm still going to have to defend my home, properties, family, and everything I've worked many years to obtain.

    The Good Samaritan Laws were established to protect someone with good intentions but not enough medical knowledge in the event they tried their best to help but were unsuccessful (or made the situation worse). It has never protected someone who acted unreasonably; if someone knows, for instance, that they are unskilled in thoracic surgery, they shouldn't attempt opening a chest in the field and later say they were acting as a Good Samaritan. It was never written so that they couldn't be sued. The financial and emotional cost to the defendant is the same.

    And we are not "Good Samaritans" as medical professionals. If you choose to render aid at the scene of an accident, you are held to the same standards as if you are at work: do what is within the scope of your practice, nothing more and nothing less. All it boils down to, really, is this: while at work, you have your employer's insurance to cover you while you are acting within this scope. On the side of the road, it's YOUR insurance (if you have it) and your possessions on the line.

    Not saying don't stop, not saying don't help. I AM saying don't falsely believe you have protection that you absolutely don't.
  14. by   SuesquatchRN

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