A health care provider who acts as a Good Samaritan has certain protections under the law, with important limits.

Situations when the provider has some protection - both of the following are present:

(1) The provider has no duty to care for the patient.

(2) The provider commits ordinary negligence in the care of the patient.


Situations when the provider may be at risk:

(1) The provider has a pre-existing duty to provide care to the person. Failure to provide care or providing care that shows ordinary negligence are not acceptable.

(2) The provider commits gross negligence (which includes wanton and malicious behavior) in the care of the person.


Some states and some countries require that a health care provider give assistance to a person in need and failure to do so is a crime (although providing care when one does not have a license to practice in the jurisdiction could raise some interesting questions).


Additional issues:

(1) The person responding should be acting in good faith.

(2) The care given should only be to stabilize the person.

(3) The recipient of care must not object to the aid being rendered.

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