Now that you are a trained medical professional, you should be ready to provide health care in and out of the hospital or clinic. However, providing CPR and other emergency care when away from a medical setting can feel scary and may leave you wondering if you could get in trouble if the outcome is poor. After all, when you are clocked in, you most likely have plenty of backup from the entire medical team. If this subject has you worried, you should learn about your state’s Good Samaritan Law that protects people just like you.

What Is the Good Samaritan Law?

At its most basic, a Good Samaritan Law protects someone who is acting selflessly to aid another person in an emergency situation. Most of the time, this refers to a medical emergency, such as when someone is found unresponsive on a sidewalk or when a person nearby is bleeding or has a broken limb. This law generally states that those bystanders acting in the individual’s best interests cannot be held legally liable for anything negative that happens to the person.

Good Samaritan Laws protect emergency rescuers from liability for making reasonable errors in most cases. However, they do not protect against gross negligence or reckless behavior. Because the term “reasonable” can vary greatly between individuals, courts are often called upon to judge these situations.

Who Are Good Samaritan Laws for?

Originally, Good Samaritan Laws were designed only for doctors and other trained health care professionals who might perform CPR and other emergency medical procedures on bystanders in the community. However, over the years, most states’ laws have changed to include even untrained bystanders who can provide reasonable medical assistance in an emergency situation.

Is the Good Samaritan Law the Same Around the Country?

Keep in mind that Good Samaritan Laws are not the same in every state. Therefore, you must research your state’s specific law to know how it could apply to you. Some states only protect trained rescuers while other states actually punish untrained bystanders who do not at least try to provide some reasonable amount of help to those in need. In addition, certain states only protect those who are helping in basic medical emergencies, such as by providing basic care for bleeding and cardiac arrest.

Do You Have to Assist in an Emergency?

Because each state is different, only some actually require you to help a person in medical need if you are a bystander. However, if you are in the health care profession, you are sure to be motivated by selfless compassion to help those around you who are in need. By ensuring that you have the knowledge and training to help these individuals, you not only can change people’s lives forever but also can feel incredibly fulfilled yourself.

One of the best ways to be prepared for any medical emergency that could arise in the community is by becoming BLS-certified. A Basic Life Support class through Project Heartbeat will give you the knowledge you need to provide CPR and respond to possible strokes, bleeding and other life-threatening conditions until emergency personnel arrive. With regular classes in Sacramento and the Oakland area, you are sure to find a class date and time that works well with your busy schedule.