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Old 27 January 2007, 10:21   #21
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Yes I believe that if you declare that you are a 1st aider, you become legally liable. SO claim nothing.
I can't speak for Ireland, but very simply for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands this is absolutely 100% incorrect. But it is a commonly spread myth.

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Regarding legal liability etc - the "Good Samaritan" principle supports those acting in an emergency, although it won't protect those who go beyond accepted practices....
You are absolutely right, however we don't have any form of "Good Samaritan" protection in the UK. Yet another commonly perpetrated myth. Julian Brazier MP attempted to being some in with the Protection of Volunteering Bill, but that never got through parliament.

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Once a person (lay or medically trained) has initiated care of a casualty, they have established a duty of care until further help arrives.
No they haven't. Common First Aid myth number 3. (This doesn't apply to the professional staff (eg Ambu Techs / Paras) that have been called to the scene of the emergency - it is unlikely (although never been tested) to apply to volunteer staff that have been called e.g. RNLI).

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The Bolam principle/test also applies - it states that medical professionals are not liable for diagnosis/treatment as long as they are following a responsible body of medical opinion i.e. professionals are judged against the standard of their peers. The actions of First Aiders therefore should only be compared against the average First Aider with equivalent training and expertise.
Spot on. Although Bolam has subsequently been modified by Bolitho.

Cheers,
WMM
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Old 27 January 2007, 14:50   #22
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Many "sea schools" offer the RYA first aid course but I suspect most of their trainers have never actually maintained a casualties airway, dealt with fractures or life threatening bleeding.
probably. Unfortunately I have had more than a few to deal with as a coastguard and generally just finding casualties at sea. When running a CG boat handling course for coxns we just happened to find an old guy face down in the sea-he had just fallen of a moored yacht. Despite best efforts the guy died in the ambulance(i reckon he was dead when we pulled him out). The CG lad who drew the short straw and went to the inquest (station officer and on his patch) gave evidence and the first thing he was asked was are you a trained and certificated first aider? As it happened I had renewed his ticket two weeks previous to the incident.
As far as liabilities are concerned I see little difference twixt ambulance/fire/police and the lifeboat and coastguard teams who despite being volunteers are in fact paid and are in their field the "professionals" and trained in first aid to greater or lesser degrees.
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Old 27 January 2007, 17:45   #23
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Duty of Care

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Originally Posted by whiteminiman View Post
No they haven't. Common First Aid myth number 3. (This doesn't apply to the professional staff (eg Ambu Techs / Paras) that have been called to the scene of the emergency - it is unlikely (although never been tested) to apply to volunteer staff that have been called e.g. RNLI).
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!!
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Old 28 January 2007, 12:03   #24
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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;

[2001] Q.B. 36,
[2000] 2 All E.R. 474,
[2000] Lloyd's Rep. Med. 109,
[2000] P.I.Q.R. 57,
(2000) 144 S.J.L.B. 106,
[2000] 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.

Regards,
WMM
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Old 30 January 2007, 11:32   #25
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Do ya know what people, I've just read this thread end to end and its really annoyed me.

Absolutely no disrespect to any of you that have posted on this thread, but what is going on in this world when we have more of a discussion on legal liabilities than on how you could help a person who has just had an accident.

I have been a Health and Safety professional for 15 years now and get asked questions about potential liability before I get asked what people should do to stay safe. I was also a first aider for years and only ever used my knowledge outside the workplace and outside any liability insurances that might / might not have covered my actions.

At the end of the day you have to make a decision for yourself, would you stop and help or would you walk by.

Personally its not a question I've ever bothered with.
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Old 30 January 2007, 12:04   #26
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Do ya know what people, I've just read this thread end to end and its really annoyed me........



.....Personally its not a question I've ever bothered with.
With respect, Phil, I suspect you've never been on the receiving end of litigation, when all you were doing was "the right thing"..... makes you think twice about all sorts of things! It's the way our society has become and it stinks.
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Old 30 January 2007, 14:54   #27
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With respect, Phil, I suspect you've never been on the receiving end of litigation, when all you were doing was "the right thing"..... makes you think twice about all sorts of things! It's the way our society has become and it stinks.
Don't get me wrong Jono. I really do see everyone's point of view.

I've had to represent several companies that I have worked for during litigation concerning incidents that didn't even happen in the workplace and learn't a long time ago that we should blame the "No win no fee" bunch for your high insurances and compensation culture that we live in these days.

The subject of this thread is a typical example. I struggle to find first aiders for the buildings I look after for the very reasons mentioned.

As I said, I tend to jump in and help because thats just the way I am. I had to last week when an old lady fell in Sidcup High Street when I was walking past and was the only person to go and help.

I guess one day my attitude to this issue will probably bite me.
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Old 30 January 2007, 15:10   #28
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I am with Phil I will dive in and help I have had to work on casualties as a passer by and wait for the ambulance to arrive given details to the Police and never had any comebacks yet .
Worse thing that ever happened to me was a ladies dog fell off the sea wall chasing seagulls ended up in the water as the lifeguard on duty I went in as it was getting bashed on the breakwater dog bit me so I smacked it on the nose dragged it ashore the lady then set about me with her stick .

I think more people should be involved as a good samaritan I would like to see First Aid Taught in schools .

Legal points aside to pinch a quote from the RNLI train one save many .
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Old 30 January 2007, 15:30   #29
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I would like to see First Aid Taught in schools ... ...to pinch a quote from the RNLI train one save many .
Ah but what you are proposing is in fact the opposite - train many, to save a few. I am not trying to detract from from what I think is a reasonable suggestion. Also if you teach people young enough they are less likely to be paranoid about "litigation". Once you are trained it would be very difficult (morally) to walk past someone who was dying.
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Old 30 January 2007, 16:31   #30
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The subject of this thread is a typical example. I struggle to find first aiders for the buildings I look after for the very reasons mentioned.

...

I guess one day my attitude to this issue will probably bite me.
Phil, this highlights the point I was trying to make.

There IS a lot of fear about being sued for helping people.

It is ALL unfounded.

There are certain myths that are propagated by people (in particular First Aid trainers) who do not fully understand what they are talking about.

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