Are there legal risks of performing CPR on a stranger?

Are there legal risks of performing CPR on a stranger?

Today, interacting with people you don’t know carries the risk of potential legal ramifications. Here’s one example that can stump some people: Should you perform CPR on a stranger in distress?

Many people may hesitate to get involved after hearing about people being sued or worse, for supposedly violating someone’s personal boundaries. Research has shown this is especially true among men who are faced with helping — and touching — a woman they don’t know.

Researchers at the University of Florida wanted to know how often people faced legal troubles after conducting CPR. The team examined nearly 200 lawsuits involving the use or nonuse of CPR between 1989 and 2019. What they found was eye-opening.

None of the cases wound up in court because a bystander violated someone’s boundaries by trying to help. Instead, they were cases in which the supposed good Samaritan allegedly committed battery against the victim while performing CPR. All of the others involved accusations of negligence, leading the researchers to conclude that a person is much more likely to be taken to court for not providing CPR soon enough.

The University of Florida has taken the lead in the community by offering CPR training as well as introducing a phone app that alerts authorities when a person is in sudden cardiac arrest and directs the user to the nearest automated external defibrillator, or AED, which can be used to jumpstart a heart.

You never know when you, someone you know or even a stranger will need this lifesaving intervention. But remember: When someone is in danger of dying, inaction is never OK

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