Fla. ruling upholds Good Samaritan immunity
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 17, 2009
A recent Florida appeals court ruling affirmed certain liability protections for physicians under the state's Good Samaritan Act.
Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal found that an anesthesiologist was immune from liability after voluntarily assisting an emergency physician in treating a patient who came to the hospital with a medication reaction. The anesthesiologist, who did not provide on-call services to the ED, responded to the emergency physician's request for help. The patient ultimately died.
The patient's family sued, alleging Good Samaritan protections did not apply because the anesthesiologist was at the hospital attending to a patient. The family further contended that the physician's response to the emergency request should have been expected and not considered voluntary.
Judges in a July 16 opinion disagreed, saying that interpretation would have contradicted the intent of the statute to "encourage health care practitioners to provide necessary emergency care to all persons without fear of litigation."
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/08/17/prbf0817.htm.