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An Tir Chirurgeons' Guild

State of Alabama
Good Samaritan Laws

Ala. Code §6-5-332 (1975)
Ala. Code §6-5-332.3 (1999)(AED use)


Section 6-5-332

Persons rendering emergency care etc., at scene of accident, etc.

(a) When any doctor of medicine or dentistry, nurse, member of any organized rescue squad, member of any police or fire department, member of any organized volunteer fire department, Alabama-licensed emergency medical technician, intern or resident practicing in an Alabama hospital with training programs approved by the American Medical Association, Alabama state trooper, medical aidman functioning as a part of the military assistance to safety and traffic program, chiropractor, or public education employee gratuitously and in good faith, renders first aid or emergency care at the scene of an accident, casualty, or disaster to a person injured therein, he or she shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of his or her acts or omissions in rendering first aid or emergency care, nor shall he or she be liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further medical treatment or care for the injured person.

(b) Any member of the crew of a helicopter which is used in the performance of military assistance to safety and traffic programs and is engaged in the performance of emergency medical service acts shall be exempt from personal liability for any property damages caused by helicopter downwash or by persons disembarking from the helicopter.

(c) When any physician gratuitously advises medical personnel at the scene of an emergency episode by direct voice contact, to render medical assistance based upon information received by voice or biotelemetry equipment, the actions ordered taken by the physician to sustain life or reduce disability shall not be considered liable when the actions are within the established medical procedures.

(d) Any person who is qualified by a federal or state agency to perform mine rescue planning and recovery operations, including mine rescue instructors and mine rescue team members, and any person designated by an operator furnishing a mine rescue team to supervise, assist in planning or provide service thereto, who, in good faith, performs or fails to perform any act or service in connection with mine rescue planning and recovery operations shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to exempt from liability any person responsible for an overall mine rescue operation, including an operator of an affected facility and any person assuming responsibility therefor under federal or state statutes or regulations.

(e) A person or entity, who in good faith and without compensation renders emergency care or treatment to a person suffering or appearing to suffer from cardiac arrest, which may include the use of an automated external defibrillator, shall be immune from civil liability for any personal injury as a result of care or treatment or as a result of any act or failure to act in providing or arranging further medical treatment where the person acts as an ordinary prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances, except damages that may result for the gross negligence of the person rendering emergency care. This immunity shall extend to the licensed physician or medical authority who is involved in automated external defibrillator site placement, the person who provides training in CPR and the use of the automated external defibrillator, and the person or entity responsible for the site where the automated external defibrillator is located. This subsection specifically excludes from the provision of immunity any designers, manufacturers, or sellers of automated external defibrillators for any claims that may be brought against such entities based upon current Alabama law.

(Acts 1966, Ex. Sess., No. 253, p. 377; Acts 1975, No. 1233, p. 2594; Acts 1981, No. 81-804, p. 1427; Acts 1987, No. 87-390, p. 558, §1; Acts 1993, No. 93-373, §1; Act 99-370, p. 595, §3.)

Section 6-5-332.3

Use of automated external defibrillator.

(a) The Legislature of the State of Alabama finds the following:

(1) Early defibrillation may sustain the life and temporarily stabilize a person in cardiac arrest, thus helping to preserve the Alabama family.

(2) The American Heart Association estimates that more than 350,000 Americans die each year from out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest, and 20,000 deaths may be prevented each year if automated external defibrillators were more widely available.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that an automated external defibrillator may be used for the purpose of saving the life of another person in cardiac arrest.

(c) As used in Section 6-5-332, the term "automated external defibrillator" or "AED" means a medical device heart monitor and defibrillator that meets all of the following specifications:

(1) Has received approval of its pre-market notification filed pursuant to Section 360 (k), Title 21 of the United States Code from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

(2) Is capable of recognizing the presence or absence of ventricular fibrillation or rapid ventricular tachycardia and is capable of determining, without intervention by an operator, whether defibrillation should be performed.

(3) Upon determining that defibrillation should be performed, automatically charges and requests delivery of an electrical impulse through the chest wall and to an individual's heart.

(d) A person or entity that acquires an AED shall ensure all of the following:

(1) That expected defibrillator users receive appropriate training in an American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or other nationally recognized cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course and AED, or an equivalent nationally recognized course.

(2) That the defibrillator is maintained and tested according to the manufacturer's operational guidelines.

(3) That there is involvement of a licensed physician or medical authority in the site's AED program to ensure compliance with training, notification, and maintenance.

(4) That any person who renders emergency care or treatment of a person in cardiac arrest by using an AED activates the emergency medical services system as soon as possible.

(5) That each manufacturer, wholesale supplier, or retailer of an AED notifies purchasers of AED's intended for use in the State of Alabama of the requirements of this section.

(e) A person or entity who acquires an automated external defibrillator shall notify the local emergency communications center or dispatch center of the existing location and type of AED.

(f) This section shall not apply to an individual using an AED in an emergency setting if that individual is acting as a good samaritan pursuant to Section 6-5-332.

(Act 99-370, p. 595, §§1, 2.)

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