Obligation in the face of car accident?

  1. Hi everyone!

    I was driving home from clinicals today with my clinical group and someone mentioned car accidents and how a nurse should respond - then another person replied that if you see an accident(or whatever other disaster) and don't stop to help or take action, you can lose your license.

    Don't get me wrong - regardless of my license, I'm pretty sure I'd stop... but that seems really strange to me. So every EMT, Paramedic, LPN, RN, and MD should stop if they see somthing happen?

    Does anyone know if this is anywhere a part of your licensing? (other than ethics).

    While I would stop - I think this sounds kind of bogus.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   litbitblack
    From what i understand that if there is no one else on the scene you have to stop and render aid. i am in texas
  4. by   SummerC
    From what I understand of the 'good samaritan rule' is that you don't have to stop, but if you do, you are then obligated.
  5. by   litbitblack
    i thought the good samaritin rule was for just anybody not licensed people.
  6. by   EricJRN
    You might send an email to your state board of nursing. These rules vary by state.
  7. by   lainith
    The Good Samaritan thing actually has to do with not being held liable for attempting to assist in an emergency situation. I don't know if it applies to "everyone" (including medical professionals) but that was my understanding. I'd have to do some digging around to find out.

    Personally, I don't stop at car accidents. I don't care if I am one of many bombarding the 911 operators, I WILL call when I see one but I do not stop unless there appears to be no one else there to help. I've only come upon that situation once. Me stopping my car when everyone else seems to be doing the same thing is not going to help the situation much, particularly in a residential or Hwy area.
  8. by   mama_d
    I'm not sure about the answer, but it seems like it would be pretty hard to prove that you had passed the scene of an accident, not to mention that if EMS is already there, I keep on trucking b/c they are far better trained to deal with such situations than I am.

    I have been the first medical professional on the scene for three accidents, and never heard anything more about them despite leaving my info w/the police. The first two were not bad, although there was the potential there, noone was critically injured. The last one, the five lane highway was shut down for over an hour and I honestly don't know if the woman I was working on even made it to the hospital alive.

    Honestly, my experience has been that you just jump and start running to help when you realize that you're the first on the scene; there's not even any thought process involved, it's an automatic reaction. My guess would be that the laws involved vary from state to state.
  9. by   locolorenzo22
    If me stopping with a bunch of responders....ain't gonna happen. I'm not gonna help much with just 1 more body in the way, these folks see it everyday.
    Now, if I come across an accident and no one is there...I'll stop. Because if it was my family member, I would hope another nurse would stop and help. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm waiting for the day.
    You are responsible for rendering aid in the course of what you are trained to do...but you cannot be held responsible if you don't stop. It's a personal choice.
  10. by   pharmgirl
    The good samaritan law will cover licensed professionals if the care they perform is not "negligent" and they don't receive compensation for it. (at least thats how it is in KY). As far as NOT stopping, have no idea. How would anyone even know?
  11. by   vamedic4
    The Good Samaritan Laws only cover you if you act within your scope of practice and render aid in good faith, and that you are not compensated for your actions.
    While scope of practice for RNs is standardized in the hospital, the scene of an accident is foreign to many. As long as you focus on basics (ABC's) and nothing else...you will most likely be fine. If, however, you suspect a tension pneumo and decide to relieve it with your pen, you may just find yourself in court. Just an example.



    As Eric said, it does vary by state....so check with them.
  12. by   Nurse Salt
    You cannot lose your licnese for not stopping, who would know you were there? You can be in trouble if you stop to render care and leave before someone more trained/qualified has come to releive you. These people would include paramedic, EMT, fire dept, or an MD (I'm sure more people qualify, but I know these for sure). And as far as good samaritan laws go, they are on the books to protect ANYONE (HC workers or not) who attempts to render care (in a proper and safe manner) from being sued at a later date for say broken ribs that occur during compressions.

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