Can You Be Prosecuted For Trying To Save Someones Life?

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Jbird | 18:51 Sat 06th Apr 2013 | Law
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We are here having a debate - If you administer CPR and sadly the casualty dies, can you be prosecuted if you do not hold a first aid certificate?
If you administer CPR and the casualty dies and you DO hold a certificate, will you be prosecuted?
It's my understanding that regardless of whether you hold a First Aid Certificate or not, if you administer CPR you are trying to save a life and cannot be prosecuted. Is this correct?
Can someone please clarify?
Thank you


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If you hold a First Aid Certificate - at least, if it's a St Andrews certificate in Scotland - and some clown tries to sue you, the St Andrews Association will take complete responsibility for your defence in court. I would hope that the St John's Ambulance Association in England do the same.

As to doing it without a certificate, what would be the point of all those adverts telling people how easy it is, and how important, if doing it could put you on the wrong side of a legal case? But that's just my view.
No, you can't. But there is no law in England and Wales that says that you must, if able, try to save a life, either. France, on the other hand,does have such a law under its Criminal Code and there have been prosecutions of able-bodied people who have stood by, when able to intervene, and watched the victim die.

Our version of the Commandment is "Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive, officiously to keep alive", as a witty poet once put it in his Modern Decalogue.
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Very good point Bert_h, thank you!
No, when taking our first aid course in work the instructor said that no-one has ever been prosecuted for trying to save a life.

No, you can't - this is a myth, and there have been several stories about nurses who were scared to identify themselves in case helping a stranger led to prosecution.
Freddy - that should Pope Freddy if only Cardinal Obrien had gone along, is of course correct.

BUT you have to show the relevant skills and not be negligent. People may say a private case is not a prosecution.... but you know.

I thought F would mention the Napoleonic Code - in the Code Penal - Arteecl whatever concerns 'un personne en danger' and you can get screwed for NOT giving help. All the journo were arrested for this at Diana's death at the Pont d'Alma but were acquitted on the grounds that as soon as Dr Malloux appeared, their duty ended.

In the ambulance strike in the eighties, in Brum I thought the fella who ended up tetraplegic after breaking his neck successfully sued the Army because the squaddies who were standing in the for the ambulancemen had scooped him up wrong. But I may be wrong.

and finally in one of the Bath marathons there was no medical help so two off-duty doctors did CPR without anything sudduv to help and got cross examined at the inquest - and taken to the cleaners - as tho it was really their fault there were no facilities. As they left the courthouse after the inquest which again is not a prosecution one commented - "our advice to anyone in these circumstances is to walk on by." Doctors arent allowed to by the way.

walk on by - biblical see - comes from the parable
and the Bath marathon cock-up is here.
I had various details wrong.

There is a lot written about sudden death in sport. Here is Dan Tunstall-Pedoe's effort from whenever. His claim to fame is that he has an identical twin in the same subject and also he holds the St Bart's Hospital 4 min mile record at something like 4 m 5 s
oh and he is also a cardiologist

.part of Anna's parents' letter to the BMJ 8 May 1999

EDITOR—Dyer reports that two junior doctors, Andrew Murphy and Lesley McKee, went to the aid of a marathon runner who collapsed and died as she crossed the finishing line of a half marathon.1 Dyer reports Dr Murphy as saying that if he was faced with a similar emergency in future he would “just walk on by.” We understand his comments.......

[The doctors had done their best at the time and then a year or so later the usual assortment of lawyers medical experts and pundits say ah yes of course what you should have done.....]

And for those who don't know of it, here is the Latest Decalogue from which "Thou shalt not kill.." (above) was lifted:

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