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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – better known as CPR – is a staple of any first aid course. Consisting of rescue breaths and/or chest compressions administered in a set pattern at a particular pace, CPR can be very effective in resuscitating an individual who has experienced cardiac arrest (such as drowning and near-drowning victims). Despite efforts to encourage Americans to learn how to properly administer CPR in an emergency, some estimates hold that 70% of Americans are unable to correctly provide CPR when called upon. Improperly-performed CPR can be more dangerous than no CPR at all.
Injuries and complications can arise from CPR that is not given correctly. If CPR is not administered appropriately when needed, it can reduce an injury victim’s chance of surviving the incident and making a recovery. Even if the victim were to survive the incident, he or she may be left with other serious health complications as a result of the improperly-administered CPR.
If you or your loved one were injured because someone administered CPR incorrectly, you and/or your loved one may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Dangers of Improperly-Administered CPR
If CPR is administered incorrectly, it has little benefit for the recipient and can actually result in a decreased chance of survival for the victim due to other health complications. While many Americans may have attended a first aid course at one point or another, many people have not attended a refresher course for many years even though recertification is recommended every couple of years.
In addition to a reduced chance of survival, improperly-administered CPR can also result in:
- Broken or cracked ribs and/or sternum fractures caused by improperly-administered chest compressions (this is a particular danger for children and the elderly);
- Pressure buildup in the body due to too many chest compressions. This in turn can lead to vomiting which can cause the victim to suffer pulmonary aspiration and other related complications; and
- Punctured lungs or other internal organs as a result of cracked or broken ribs and/or sternum.
Don’t Good Samaritan Laws Prevent Me from Suing a Rescuer?
Many states have enacted Good Samaritan laws as a means to encourage people to help fellow citizens in distress. These laws provide some measure of legal protection to people who attempt to help others in need by providing first aid or CPR. More specifically, a person who provided appropriate first aid and/or CPR to someone who genuinely appeared to be in need and who consented in some manner to the first aid (or who could not consent due to unconsciousness) can generally avoid legal liability to the victim if the victim later dies or suffers some additional injury.
These laws are not absolute, however, and will not protect individuals who do not obtain consent from the victim prior to administering first aid or CPR when consent could be obtained. Nor will these laws protect a person from liability if he or she provides improper first aid or CPR or attempts to administer aid that he or she is not trained to provide (for example, a person who is not trained and certified to provide CPR should not attempt to provide CPR to a victim).
Where to Turn for Help
Determining if your injuries were caused or exacerbated by improperly-administered CPR can require the expert opinions of medical professionals. At Zinda Law Group, we can help direct you to medical experts who can evaluate your injuries and conditions and render an opinion as to whether improperly-performed CPR caused or contributed to your injuries. If it is determined that someone’s improper administration of CPR to you is to blame, we can help you recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact us today at (800) 863-5312 to discuss your case.