Baker’s “Good Samaritan” Bill Becomes Law

HARRISBURG – Legislation to more fully protect bystanders who give emergency aid and businesses who house AEDs has been signed by Governor Tom Corbett, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20), the bill’s sponsor.

“When someone has a sudden heart attack, an AED or a quick-thinking stranger can mean the difference between life and death,” Baker said. “This bill ensures that someone who acts in good faith is not sued unjustly for caring enough to get involved.”

Senate Bill 351 has been a long-standing legislative priority of the American Heart Association.

More than 300,000 sudden cardiac arrests happen in the U.S. each year outside the hospital setting. If CPR is performed immediately, a victim’s chance of survival doubles and possibly triples.

Prior to the new law, Pennsylvania was one of only a handful of states that did not provide full legal protections for bystanders who render CPR.

Some property managers have said they fear placing an AED on their premises because they can be held liable if it is not used in an emergency, or if it is used and the outcome is poor. This bill ensures that businesses with AEDs will be protected as long as they provide proper maintenance and training.

“This legislation will protect innocent parties who prepare for emergencies, and who attempt to help victims at a moment’s notice,” Baker said.

Civil immunity will not apply when parties are negligent or have the intent to harm.

“Before, many Good Samaritans were prevented from taking action for fear of steep financial penalties,” said Baker. “This measure ensures that individuals who act in good faith to try to save a life are not punished for their good deed.”

Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931

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