The Good Samaritan Law and CPR
If I am certified in CPR, am I OBLIGATED to help someone in need of help?
The question I get asked the most by my Philadelphia CPR Class students is,” what are the obligations and expectations, both legal and civil, of knowing CPR and/or being certified in CPR and you face a situation in which someone is in dire need of CPR?” The answer is both simple and complicated. Let me explain. Being certified in CPR does not in ANYWAY obligate you to perform CPR to anyone who might need it. In fact NOTHING obligates you to perform CPR. Now, on the other hand, being a trained medical physician might be a different story, but we are not speaking from that perspective.
The answer to this question is if you respond to an emergency with CPR, whether you “know” CPR or not, or whether you’re certified in CPR or not, as long as you perform in a non-negligible, reasonable manner, if you injur the person even further or do not successfully resuscitate them, you can not and will not be held criminally or civilly liable. The law that protects you is called the Good Samaritan Law. As long an you exercise reasonable care and give the person a fair attempt to save their life, no one can hold you liable for not saving their life if you fail resuscitate them or if you break their ribs or injure them further in your attempt to rescue them.
Think about it. Who is going to be MAD at you that you TRIED TO SAVE THEIR LIFE. That’s the way the law and society looks at it anyway.