Imagine yourself at your favorite restaurant, eating your favorite meal. In the middle of the meal, you begin to choke, and a person from another table administers the Heimlich maneuver. In the process of stopping you from choking, you develop a blood clot that nearly costs you your life. These blood clots are rare, but they do occur.
Or perhaps you are going to a movie, and you’re standing in line. All of a sudden, the person you’re with suffers a heart attack. Within minutes, an EMT is on the scene, administering CPR. During that process, the EMT breaks multiple ribs of the person suffering from the heart attack. In fact, this happens quite often. A study of 71 patients who underwent CPR, discovered that 22 of them experienced at least one broken rib, and another 14 suffered multiple breaks.
In each of these cases, another person administering a life-saving procedure also caused significant harm while doing so. If you are hurt by someone who is trying to save your life, can you make a claim for damages?
Suing a First Responder or a “Good Samaritan”
First Responders are trained emergency personnel – EMTs, firefighters, police officers, etc. A “Good Samaritan” is anyone who performs an emergency service in order to help save another person. In Tennessee, all First Responders are considered Good Samaritans.
The Good Samaritan law in Tennessee states any individual who provides CPR, emergency rescue, or first aid “shall not be liable to victims or persons receiving emergency care for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission by such person in rendering the emergency care or as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further medical treatment or care for the injured person, except such damages as may result from the gross negligence of the person rendering such emergency care, who in good faith:
- Renders emergency care at the scene of an accident, medical emergency and/or disaster, while en route from such scene to a medical facility and while assisting medical personnel at the receiving medical facility, including use of an automated external defibrillator, to the victim or victims thereof without making any direct charge for the emergency care; or
- Participates or assists in rendering emergency care, including use of an automated external defibrillator, to persons attending or participating in performances, exhibitions, banquets, sporting events, religious or other gatherings open to the general public, with or without an admission charge, whether or not such emergency care is made available as a service, planned in advance by the promoter of the event and/or any other person or association.”
Under the law, the medical facility that receives the patient cannot be held liable, either.
Although the Good Samaritan Laws are in place to protect rescuers, medical malpractice is still very real. You certainly do have the right to pursue legal compensation for avoidable injuries when your caretaker or rescuer did not follow an expected standard duty of care under the circumstances.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, the negligence attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, can evaluate your case and advocate strongly on your behalf for the damages you are owed. We serve Memphis, Jackson, and West Tennessee. Give us a call today at 901.475.7434 or fill out our contact form to arrange a free consultation about your case.