What You Need to Know About CPR Laws

ProTrainings What to Know About CPR Laws

CPR is a life-saving skill, but the fear of facing legal repercussions can make people, and even sometimes medical professionals, hesitate to act in an emergency. CPR laws make a difference when it comes to providing emergency care by protecting the people who perform CPR and first aid.

The Good Samaritan Law is one of the most well-known pieces of legislation related to offering aid during an emergency situation, but it’s just one of many specific regulations in the U.S. that affect both safety professionals’ and private citizens’ confidence to perform CPR. 

Read on to learn more about the most important CPR laws that exist to protect health care professionals and laypersons.

What Are Good Samaritan Laws? 

Good Samaritan laws protect individuals from legal consequences when providing aid in emergency situations. While every state has its own Good Samaritan Law, the basic premise is simple: If you act in good faith to help someone in need, you cannot be held liable for any harm that may result. 

Of all CPR laws, this one is particularly important in situations where people may be hesitant to provide assistance because they’re worried about being sued or facing legal repercussions. By providing legal protection, Good Samaritan laws encourage people to take action and help others when they need it most. 

It’s important to be familiar with the specifics of this law in your state, as they may differ in terms of who is protected and the circumstances under which the law applies.

When it comes to health care professionals, Good Samaritan laws mean that as long as you act within your scope of training and do not act with willful or wanton negligence, you are protected from potential lawsuits. That said, if possible, you should identify yourself and obtain consent from the individual or their surrogate decision maker before performing CPR.

What Are Duty-to-Assist Laws?

Duty-to-assist laws require medical professionals, first responders, and even everyday citizens to act in emergencies to prevent further harm or injuries. Failing to act in an emergency situation could result in legal consequences, such as fines or imprisonment. 

What You Need to Know About CPR Laws

For example, some states — Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Vermont — actually require bystanders to act in an emergency, according to ScienceDirect. Therefore, it’s critical to recognize the significance of potential emergencies and act accordingly, whether that be calling for help or administering aid. 

By educating ourselves and knowing our legal obligations, we can uphold public safety and potentially save lives.

What Is a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order?

A Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order is a medical document that indicates a patient’s desire to not receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if their heart stops or they stop breathing. This decision is made in consultation with the patient’s health care provider and is typically based on the patient’s medical condition, quality of life, and personal beliefs. 

While a DNR order may seem like a negative decision, it can actually be a positive way to honor a patient’s wishes and ensure that their end-of-life care aligns with their values. It is important for patients and their families to understand the purpose of a DNR order and to discuss any concerns or questions with their health care provider.

What CPR Laws Affect Health Care Professionals? 

Health care professionals must be well-versed in CPR laws, which have certain legal implications that can affect their practice. In the U.S., every state has its own set of CPR laws that define who can perform CPR, when CPR can be administered, and under what circumstances it can be withheld. 

Furthermore, understanding the differences between legal and ethical obligations when it comes to performing CPR is essential for health care professionals. Being knowledgeable about these laws and regulations not only keeps medical professionals compliant but also helps ensure the safety and well-being of their patients.

It’s especially important to note that in some professions, such as child care workers and EMS rescuers, failure to provide CPR or first aid can result in job termination, loss of license, or even criminal charges. The impact of not providing CPR in an emergency situation can be devastating not only for the victim but also for the individual who failed to act.

What Are the CPR Laws for Expired Certifications? 

CPR laws for invalid or expired certifications vary depending on your location and the specific circumstances of the situation. Generally speaking, most of the U.S. doesn’t require a CPR card for individuals to perform CPR as long as the individual is acting in good faith to help someone in need of it. 

However, some employers may require a valid CPR card as a condition of employment. It’s always a good idea to check with local authorities or your employer on the specific laws and regulations concerning CPR training and certification. 

Remember: It’s better to be prepared with a valid CPR certification, but in emergency situations, your willingness to help may save a life.

The Importance of CPR Laws for Providing Aid

During emergency situations, several other federal and state laws come into play regarding aid provision. Notably, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is a federal law that guarantees that emergency medical services are provided to individuals regardless of their ability to pay. 

CPR laws can be complex and often depend on local state or federal legislation. Health care professionals have a legal obligation to stay abreast of the latest changes in local laws pertaining to CPR.

Everyone has a right to know their options with regards to providing emergency aid during an accident or medical emergency. The best way to be prepared to provide life-saving assistance in an emergency is to be informed about CPR laws and make sure your certification is up to date.
Contact us today to learn more about our group and remote-staff CPR certification programs.