If I’m a medic working for afire departmentwithout EMS protocol, am I considered a Good Samaritan if I perform basic EMS while on shift?

UPDATED: Aug 4, 2011

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If I’m a medic working for afire departmentwithout EMS protocol, am I considered a Good Samaritan if I perform basic EMS while on shift?

The city hall of the fire dept I work for believes that the medics are protected by the Good Samaritan law, however we are afraid we could be liable because we are paid professionals. Although my FD responds to mainly fire related calls, once in a while we will have to be a first responder because there are not any ambulances in the city to respond to a call. We have oxygen, without a drug license, and some bandages in a medical bag. Could myself and/or the other medics become vulnerable to a lawsuit should something happen even if we try our best with what we have until an ambulance arrives?

Asked on August 4, 2011 Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Here is the Ohio Good Samaritan Law:

§ 2305.23 Liability for emergency care.

No person shall be liable in civil damages for administering emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctor's office, or other place having proper medical equipment, for acts performed at the scene of such emergency, unless such acts constitute willful or wanton misconduct.

Here is the important part for you:

Nothing in this section applies to the administering of such care or treatment where the same is rendered for remuneration, or with the expectation of remuneration, from the recipient of such care or treatment or someone on his behalf. The administering of such care or treatment by one as a part of his duties as a paid member of any organization of law enforcement officers or fire fighters does not cause such to be a rendering for remuneration or expectation of remuneration.

I would ask that the organization for whom you work clarify their position in writing.  I would speak with someone on buying additional insurance coverage for yourself should you be sued.  Good luck.  

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