How to Avoid CPR Sexual Harassment Accusations When Performing CPR

ProTrainings How to Avoid CPR Sexual Harassment Accusations

When performing CPR, sexual harassment or assault should be the last thing on your mind as you focus on saving the person’s life. However, it’s also important to be mindful of the person’s dignity and to do what you can to ensure your actions won’t be perceived as ill-intentioned. 

Thanks to recent movements, many people are increasingly careful to avoid claims of sexual harassment or assault. Unfortunately, there are people out there, even in the medical field, who take advantage of people in vulnerable situations. It’s important to be aware that sexual harassment or assault can happen, even during an emergency rescue.

However, those acting in good faith shouldn’t let fears of being accused of sexual harassment stop them from administering life-saving aid. As long as you are careful to treat the person with respect and stay within the boundaries of what you need to do to save their life, you don’t need to hesitate out of fear that you may face repercussions after the fact.

Read on to learn how to avoid CPR sexual harassment allegations and protect the dignity of the person you’re trying to save.

How Can I Avoid CPR Sexual Harassment Accusations?

For medical professionals, accusations of sexual harassment or assault do occasionally happen. Unfortunately, sometimes these accusations have been found to be true. Whether you’re a medical professional or not, however, there are some measures you can take to protect both yourself and the person you’re trying to save. 

Get Informed Consent

Whenever possible, communicate clearly and directly with the person in need and ask for full permission for everything you do. If you need to touch a sensitive part of their body, get their consent and use either their own hand or the back of yours instead of the palm. 

If the person is unconscious, you can reasonably assume consent to save their life, unless they have a valid Do Not Resuscitate order. If the victim has a trusted friend or family member present at the scene, keep them with you while you administer aid. 

Protect the Victim’s Modesty

When performing CPR or other emergency aid, it’s not always possible to fully protect the victim’s modesty. Clothing may need to be removed, and physical contact in certain areas may be unavoidable (such as touching the chest during CPR). 

ProTrainings How to Avoid CPR Sexual Harassment Accusations

However, you should be careful to preserve the victim’s modesty as much as possible and only touch them when and where it’s necessary. If the situation allows, designating someone to block off the area with sheets or curtains or to move bystanders away can also help give the victim more privacy. 

Use Common Sense

A person performing CPR in good faith has no intention of sexually harassing the victim or making them feel violated. The best way to ensure your good intentions are clear is to use common sense in treating the person with the utmost dignity and respect. 

Being properly trained to administer CPR will give you greater confidence in administering aid. It will also help you avoid CPR sexual harassment allegations, because you’ll understand and be able to explain exactly what needs to be done to save the person’s life. 

Can I Be Sued for Sexual Harassment After CPR?

It’s easy to say that nothing should stop you from saving a life by performing CPR, sexual harassment accusations or lawsuits included. But this and other fears do prevent many people from taking action. 

While it is possible for someone to file a lawsuit against you after you perform CPR on them, lay rescuers are usually protected by Good Samaritan laws. As long as your actions and intent are solely to save the person’s life and not to make unwanted sexual contact, it’s unlikely that someone could successfully sue you for saving their life.

Protect Yourself & Others

When saving someone’s life, you don’t want to make them feel violated in the process or to be accused of CPR sexual harassment after the fact. By practicing common sense, treating the person with respect and dignity, and being properly trained in CPR, you’ll be well-equipped to protect both yourself and the person you’re trying to save. 
Get trained in CPR and in dealing with sexual harassment at ProTrainings today.