American Heart Month Highlights the Good Samaritan Law in Michigan
AMERICAN HEART MONTH, NEW CPR TRAINING FOR ALL MICHIGAN STUDENTS, AND A REMINDER OF HOW GOOD SAMARITAN LAW WORKS
This February, Michigan residents may be taking notice of the many activities and awareness campaigns that are celebrating American Heart Month. We were recently thrilled to read about a new law enacted in December 2016, that will now require all Michigan students to complete CPR and AED training prior to graduation. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Michigan is now one of 35 states to pass this type of legislation. By this time next year, all Michigan schools will be required to teach these life-saving skills. This is a benefit for the people who live, work, and play in our state since statistics prove that if more people knew CPR and were comfortable giving it, more lives could be saved.
LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN MICHIGAN
Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are the leading cause of death in Michigan. Cardiac arrest can be associated with these diseases resulting in more than 1,000 people suffering outside the hospital each day from it. According to the American Heart Association of Michigan, of those cardiac arrests that are witnessed by someone, less than half receive CPR while waiting for EMS to arrive, often because the bystander:
- does not know what to do or is not trained;
- is fearful of catching a disease or hurting someone; and/or
- is frightened of the legality involved with performing CPR
Sadly, statewide health officials say these fears lead to a dismal survival rate of 11 percent for the victim. The new Michigan law could help lessen the number of deaths from cardiac arrest each year.
HOW THE SCHOOL CPR TRAINING PROGRAM WORKS
All Michigan schools will need to provide 1) instruction in CPR and 2) direction on how to use defibrillators. This training will need to happen at least one time, for all students between grades seven and 12. To meet the requirements, schools can incorporate the training into an existing class that students have to take to graduate, like health or physical education. The instruction can be for hands-only CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths and is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting, such as at school and sporting events, home, at work, or in a public setting. There are no certifications given for hands-only CPR.
HANDS-ONLY CPR JUST AS EFFECTIVE AND CAN SAVE LIVES
Hands-Only CPR performed by a bystander has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breaths in the first few minutes of an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest. Leading health care organizations and experts say most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location will die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene.
HOW TO GIVE HANDS ONLY CPR
Immediate CPR can double or even triple a person’s chances of survival. According to the AHA, Hands-Only CPR is easy for anyone to learn and can be administered without the extra hesitation and fears that traditional mouth-to-mouth CPR often has.
- If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of any tune that is 100 to 120 beats per minute, such as the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive”.
USING AN AED
Students will also receive a few hours of training to learn how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) safely and save a life. According to the American Heart Association, the AED is a computerized medical device that can identify an issue with a person’s heart. It checks the rhythm and advises the rescuer when a shock is needed by using voice prompts, lights, and on screen messages and is sometimes needed in partnership with CPR.
CAN I BE SUED FOR USING AN AED, GIVING OR NOT GIVING CPR?
Michigan CPR responders who are bystanders have saved thousands of lives. There are specific laws put into place to protect these rescuers. The 2000 Federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act grants those who administer CPR or use an AED, immunity from civil charges, except in instances of willful misconduct or gross negligence. In addition, under the Good Samaritan law in Michigan, “a person who voluntarily performs CPR or uses an AED when it is not part of their job is not liable if they cause harm, unless their actions amount to gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct.” The Good Samaritan Law in Michigan also, “provides protection from lawsuits to persons administering CPR whether they have received training or not.” Although, health experts agree it is good to be trained to ensure you are performing chest compressions and rescue breathing properly.
In Michigan, you cannot be punished for choosing not to administer bystander CPR or using an AED.
PROTECTING MICHIGAN HEARTS
We hope you and your family have a happy and healthy heart month. We wish the best of luck to the new group of student lifesavers growing up in Michigan and hope other citizens remember these tips from the AHA when witnessing a cardiac arrest:
- As a bystander, don’t be afraid. CPR is most successful when given as quickly as possible. Your actions can only help. Get help, and dial 911.
- A bystander must first be able to determine if CPR is necessary though. It should only be done when a person is unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally.
- Quickly evaluate whether the person is responsive. Look for things such as eyes opening, attempts to speak or other signs of intentional movement of the arms and legs. In infants and younger kids, tap their foot and call their name. In older kids and adults, test for responsiveness by gently shaking the shoulders and asking the person if he or she is all right.
- When calling 911, you will be asked for your location. Be specific, especially if you’re calling from a mobile phone. Answering the dispatcher’s questions will not delay the arrival of help.
- Begin CPR as soon as you are able. Do not hesitate.
For 40 years, the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. has been fighting for the people of Michigan, and caring about their wellbeing. Our firm has a team of experienced Michigan negligence attorneys ready to help you in the many specialized areas of the law. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. works on a contingency fee basis – if you don’t get paid we don’t get paid. Contact us to learn more about the Good Samaritan law in Michigan.