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Legal and Liability Issues Related to Rescue and First Aid

Even in medical emergencies we need to be aware of certain legal and liability considerations.

Can paramedics honor medical tattoos?
There's a growing trend of tattoos that are intended to replace the use of medical jewelry in emergency situations. Before you decide to ink up for emergency medical notification, you should ask yourself: will the paramedics follow my wishes?

Healthcare Discrimination - Readers Respond on Healthcare Dis…
Studies have shown that people of different races get care differently. Has that happened to you? Do you think you've experienced discrimination from those in healthcare, either because of your race or your social class? Share your story with others here.

Advance Directives
Generally, there are two advance directives for patients to outline the care at the end of life: living wills and durable powers of attorney for healthcare. Depending on where you live, each of these advance directives may or may not be honored by emergency responders or the staff at the hospital emergency department.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders
Almost everyone has heard of a do not resuscitate (DNR) order; it's the order for healthcare providers not to perform CPR on a victim of cardiac arrest. DNR orders are unique in medicine, making CPR the only medical intervention that requires an order not to administer it.

Do all states have "Good Samaritan" laws?
Good Samaritan laws initially were intended to protect physicians and others with medical training. Over time, court decisions and legislative changes have helped some states' laws evolve to include untrained rescuers who render aid. There are several versions of good Samaritan laws.

No Good Samaritan
Good Samaritan laws are meant to protect lay people who, for no reason other than kindness, come to the aid of fellow human beings in need. The placement of California's Good Samaritan statute has all but rendered it useless for the very population it should protect, thanks to an appellate court ruling.

First Aid Law Quiz
In today's litigious society there can be a reluctance to help out in emergency situations. Fear of liability for any misstep can paralyze even the most helpful Good Samaritan. It's also true that not every victim wants help. In order to care for someone in need, you must have permission. In the medical field, permission is called consent.

Before You Save a Life: What You Need to Know
There are important considerations for would-be rescuers. Not every victim wants to be saved and not every life saved will be grateful. Know the issues before you render first aid.

How Much are You Protected by Good Samaritan Laws?
Good Samaritan laws protect the general public from undue liability during good faith rescue attempts. But how much liability do you really have? Find out the important facts about Good Samaritan laws.

Good Samaritan Laws -- State List
List of states and links to Good Samaritan laws.

EMS, CPR, AED Legal Database
Database containing links to statutes regarding CPR and emergency care for every state. It includes links to relevant case law where applicable.

Believe it or not, just because a person has sustained a life-threatening injury doesn't mean he wants your help. In fact, you could be breaking the law.

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