Good Samaritan laws for off duty New Jersey RN's.

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in Med/Surg.

Does anyone know.....

In the state of NJ, can an off duty RN legally administer benadryl to a stranger that is having an allergic reaction to a bee sting?

Also, after all is said and done, could the RN accept a gift that the stranger insists on giving the RN for "saving his life"? Not money, but a free weekend at the B&B he owns....

How does the NJ Good samaritan laws work in such a situation???

Specializes in ER/EHR Trainer.

I am not sure giving Benadryl is a good idea, only because it may be considered diagnosing and dispensing medication. There is a doctor somewhere who would push the issue.

I have been told offering tylenol to co-workers falls under the same category and am very discriminating on who I provide anything to....


If someone was reacting right in front of me and I had the meds that may save their life I would take the chance.


Specializes in Cardiothoracic ICU.

you did a good thing, had you withheld the benadryl and the guy goes into anaphylactic shock, you'd be at fault. Well done

Specializes in SICU.

I don't the new jersey laws, however, as far as I understand the good Samaritan laws will not cover you. They are to protect people from being sued after trying to help someone. The person you helped is not trying to sue you. However, if he was trying to sue you, then no I don't think you would be protected.

Benadryl can have adverse reactions in people and if a person is truly having an anaphylactic reaction to an allergy then you need more than benadryl you need an epi pen.

As to taking payment from the person you helped, then defiantly the good Samaritan law would not cover you. A free weekend in a B & B has an equivalent monetary worth and would be considered payment.

Specializes in ICU, Cardiac Cath/EPS Labs.

This is a good question for the nurse-attorney who writes a Q-and-A column for "Nurse Spectrum" magazine--I believe her name is Nancy Brent and her column is "Brent's Law." Perhaps you would consider submitting it to her.:twocents:

Here is the New Jersey Law:

New Jersey

Good Samaritan Act2A:62A-1.

Any individual, including a person licensed to practice any method of treatment of human ailments, disease, pain, deformity, mental or physical condition, or licensed to render service ancillary thereto, who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or emergency to the victim or victims thereof, shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omissions by such person in rendering the emergency care.L. 1986

Specializes in ICU, ED, PACU.

Diphenhydramine is not the standard of care for an anaphylactic reaction. Should this person have been harmed due to not seeking treatment fast enough you could be held liable.

Specializes in M/S, ICU, ICP.

I am not a lawyer nor do I give legal advice, but I have never known a "good samaritan" who would "prescribe" and then "give" a benadryl period. Sounds ethically wrong to me.

Specializes in ER.

like most laws, this sounds open to interpretation. Mostly, the interpretation of those lawyers that might come after you. In its basic form, I would read into the law as the basics for emergency treatment. As in, what can you do at that moment until an ambulance arrives? Pull a person out of a burning/submerged car, remove a person from danger, hold pressure on a bleeding wound, maintain C-spine, tourniquet a hemorhagging extremity.... those things that you are trained in. And that reminds me to put some gloves into my glove box....

I would tell a person who was stung by a Bee - oh look, there's some liquid Benadryl right here, that's not mine. I once was stung by a bee and took some Benadryl, but you might want to get to an ER right now if you're allergic... something to that effect. Not stating to use it, but stating you had used it and not admitting it's yours!

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

Something seems a little fishy with this scenario.

Specializes in Med/Surg.

@ nyforlove............ thanks for the advice, i will pass it along. as for the "fishy scenerio" my friend helped this man and had someone call 911. the 1st to respond was a volunteer firefighter that heard the call. he then told my girlfriend that he could not legally give benadryl to the patient, but if she wanted to "borrow" it she could. she assessed him for allergies, medical history and his ability to swallow before giving it to him. shortly after, the ems arrived & brought him to a nearby hospital. concerned with how the man had made out, my girlfriend left her cell # on the windshield of his car asking him to call her & let her know that he was ok. when he called her the next day, he thanked her for saving his life, told her he owned a bed & breakfast & offered her a free weekend for acting selflessly on behalf of a complete stranger. she told him it was unnecessary to offer such a gift.....

she then later thought about the ramifications of what the situation could have brought.

Some good info in this article. Actually is a anaphylactic allergic reaction, but the nurse and doctor were manning a first aid station.

Summary: "Off-duty" healthcare professionals rendering

Emergency aid are in most cases "covered" by the Good

Samaritan Acts. These are laws enacted in each state

that provide some degree of immunity from liability for

good faith efforts in giving emergency care. In this

case, a nurse and physician were sued for providing

assistance in a volunteer function at a "first-aid" station.

Good Samaritan "immunity" was not recognized by the


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