Originally Posted by NautiAndNice
Weird, 'cos the UK Rescuss Council's take on this is that any person (medically trained or otherwise) who happens upon a rescuss situation is under no obligation to assist, provided the situation was not caused by him/her ... however "if that person does choose voluntarily to intervene to render assistance he will assume a duty of care towards the individual concerned".
...be interested to find a reference to any change in this - my Trust's Training Dept may need to be updated!!
By "my Trust"... I hope to god you are not referring to an Ambulance Trust.
You are right in what you say, that a person who happens upon
a rescue situation is not under a duty. However, an Ambulance that is called to the scene does not "happen upon" the situation - they are deliberately tasked to it, with a reasonable knowledge of what to expect.
I would refer you to the case of Kent v Griffiths from 2000. Reported in the following journals;
 Q.B. 36,
 2 All E.R. 474,
 Lloyd's Rep. Med. 109,
 P.I.Q.R. 57,
(2000) 144 S.J.L.B. 106,
 2 W.L.R. 1158,
(2000) 97(7) L.S.G. 41,
(2000) 150 N.L.J. 195,
2-10-2000 Times 422,
2-09-2000 Independent 422
Now that I've written that, I've realised that I've misinterpreted which part of my previous statement you were querying.
What the Resus Council have stated is not quite correct. I think it is phrased in that way to facilitate understanding by "lay" people. This area of law is a total grey area - as there have not been any significant cases. It is open to speculation and academic interpretation.
There is case law to support the following;
If you start a rescue, and then bail out because you can't cope - you are not liable unless
you have left the casualty in a worse position than they were. (Off the top of my head I can't remember which case this is - it's an old one.)
If you start a rescue, which proves to be ultimately unsuccessful, and the casualty dies or suffers serious injuries due to the rescue attempt. As long as that rescue attempt was a reasonable and logical attempt at the time, you will not be liable. Day v High Performance Sports Ltd.
Both of these judgements start to undermine the concept of "Duty of Care". Although admittedly the Day case was after the publication of the Resus Council statement.
However, to conflict with that the case of Barrett v Ministry of Defence
states that once the MoD had taken responsibility for looking after the "casualty" (who was just absolutely drunk - and ended up drowning in his own vomit) they did have a DoC and were liable for his death. Despite the fact, that the getting drunk was down to him.
So I'm sure you can see - the area is full of conflict - this is just a brief explanation. I'm not sure the Resus Council statement is a true reflection of the law as it stands, but it's better than nothing.
One further thing, If you hold a qualification in a particular area of first aid/rescue then you are expected to act as a reasonable competent holder of that qualification - NOT an expert. If there is conflicting authorities for/against the actions you take; they must have had a reasonable and logical basis. Bolitho v City & Hackney Health Authority
I am conscious that this post is taking the thread off-topic, if you wish to continue this conversation (and I am very happy to - this subject interests me enormously), feel free to contact me by email whiteminiman at gmail dot com.