Let's say you are an RN passenger on an airplane and an announcement is made asking all medical professionals to assist in a medical emergency. What if your experience as a nurse is not in critical or emergency care and have not run a code. My thoughts are I could at least help to the best of my ability and it may or may not save the persons life but at least I tried. If I didn't at least try and that person perished I would have to live with guilt the rest of my life. Since following ZDoggMD on Facebook he has brought to light all the legalities involved in assisting a flight emergency. He states you should know you are competent before responding, get written consent from the person (verbal if that's not possible), document everything, and communicate with the flight crew at all times. He said that the Good Samaritans law may not apply if you commit gross negligence. How do I know if I am competent in that situation until I know what the situation is? Can I legally back out and say I do not know how to handle it? How do I get consent and document in that setting? Can I simply assess the situation and allow the on-call doctor to advise me based on my assessment? What if I don't catch something? What if something goes wrong and it turns into their word against mine? I don't want to end up in legal trouble. You'd think this is a rare occurrence but I was surprised to find out how often this happens and how often the medical equipment in the plane's malfunction or are not up to par. I want to be prepared and be able to protect myself from legal trouble. This short video is what triggered this question
A Young Nurse Dies On A Plane; What Could Have Been Done?
If you have any knowledge or experience in the legal side of this please share. Thank you.
I feel like in-flight emergencies are d*mned if you do d*mned if you don't kind of situation. As medical professionals we have a ethical duty to respond, but aren't necessarily provided any legal protection for operating in far less than ideal circumstances. I've pondered more and more what I might do if I end up in that kind of situation, as by virtue of being a psych RN I feel like my skills for common in-flight medical issues are likely limited (cardiovascular and pulmonary emergencies are not my comfort zone), but still higher than that of an average lay-person.
I think I'd likely step up but make known my competencies (and lack thereof) and step out of the way if there is someone more competent on the flight.
Last edit by verene on May 14