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The Good Samaritan Act: A Physician’s Guide to Providing Emergency Medical Aid

Physicians often find themselves in situations where they are the only medical professionals available to provide emergency care. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the legalities and responsibilities of physicians providing such care, particularly during off-duty hours or while on vacation.

Key Points

  • All 50 states in the US have laws encouraging medical professionals to act as “good Samaritans” by providing medical care outside the hospital setting.
  • These professionals are protected by law when they provide such aid.
  • The Good Samaritan Act provides immunity against “ordinary negligence,” including protection from damages for personal injuries, and even death.
  • Consent from the individual needing aid is imperative before aid can be rendered.
  • Laws regarding this in other countries and on intercontinental flights are less clear.

HCN Medical Memo
According to a study published in a 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, medical emergencies occur on approximately 1 out of every 604 flights.

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