Tuesday, August 07, 2007


My brother ( who lives at the other side of the UK to us) was being driven by his wife to his local train station last week to journey to London, when they came across an accident involving a motorcyclist and a car.

Being my brother, and a keen motorcyclist himself, he immediately got out to help. Luckily he is a very proficient qualified First Aider and was able to keep the injured man stable and immobile until the ambulance crew, summoned by his wife, arrived.

When I was doing my Midwifery training, we had a whole chunk of the course devoted to legal aspects of our work, and we were all taken aback to be advised, in the strongest possible terms, by our most senior Tutor, that if we were on our way to work and came across an accident, that we should simply phone the Ambulance and do nothing else at all.

Apparently the Good Samaritan aspect would not preclude us being sued by the injured party or their extended family and dependants if we should inadvertently do *anything*, however minor, which could be construed in court as having compromised the injured party in any way whatsoever.

Ironically, we could not be sued for standing by and watching someone die, even if we were capable of helping them, but we could be sued for helping if anything went wrong subsequently. As we were not trained doctors or paramedics, but were training to be midwives, we were warned that we should do absolutely nothing outside our strict remit and sphere of practice.

Needless to say, I was appalled by this, and my brother would certainly have no truck with such a viewpoint, as he showed by his actions last week.

I could not stand and watch someone deteriorate and die, knowing that I had the ability and knowledge to help them. Could you ?
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1 comment:

Dave said...

We need Good Samaritan laws like many US states have, protecting people who render aid in good faith.