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-   -   might of heard some fud about CLS (

Maddog5150 07-01-2011 8:49 AM

might of heard some fud about CLS
Another joe told me today that we cannot use any CLS skills on civillians or else we will get sued. So lets say I'm riding in the desert and there is some gnarly wreck where someone is bleeding really bad from a limb with an artery open, If I try to control the bleeding with anything other than a bandage like combat guaze or a touriquet, I will probably be sued. Does this sound right?

halifax 07-01-2011 8:53 AM

Hell, doctors get sued for such things.

A doctor playing golf treated another golfer who got hit in the head with a club. The guy died and the family sued the doctor who tried to help. :rolleyes:

CWUSCG 07-01-2011 8:54 AM

I can't imagine someone getting sued for being the good samaritan, espcially if someones life was in jeporady. That's just stupid.

woods 07-01-2011 9:01 AM

In case of emergency please panic. Pass the buck. That's what the company lawyer said.

When I did cpr and advanced care against orders they did not dare write me up on or off job. Instead of getting sued I got a bottle of wine, a new watch, and a kiss on the cheek.

If anyone tries to sue you it is a bad situation but most are just happy to have their lives and offer thanks not legal papers.

The company lawyer said find someone without certification or credentials and tell them what to do never touch anyone. I don't know what they are smoking can you say no to a dying man you know you can help?

themailman 07-01-2011 9:26 AM

Sounds like FUD to me. Now, if you do something negligent and end up harming him, thats a whole nother case.

ir0nclash86 07-01-2011 9:52 AM

I'm pretty sure you'd be protected by the Good Samaritan Law (Health & Safety Code 1799.102)

Sniper3142 07-01-2011 10:41 AM

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Yup, you might get sued for helping.

There are some protections in place but they don't cover everything. You have to decide if the risk of being sued outweighs aiding someone.

Doctors and Nurses usually don't stop and offer aid at traffic accidents anymore becuase of law suits that their hospital insurance companies refused to cover.


It sucks but that is the kind of world we currently live in.

Capt_Communist 07-01-2011 10:44 AM

It boils down to what you are comfortable with and can justify... What I tell my medics (as a medic instructor for the army) is treat with the least amount of interventions possible. That being said do what you need to do in order to keep joe/jane alive, but exercise common sense.

I'd stay away from combat Gauze/IV (i know they took them away from CLS but not everyone got the message), and airways unless really necessary. In regards to CATs don't worry unless they are 6+ hours out of a hospital, cause there in no conclusive evidence that tourniquet = amputation if it's less than 6 hrs. We obviously want to control the bleeding. (remember to check for distal pulses after application.)

When questioned I'd inform them you helped but wouldn't mention CLS, which could give you issues if you did an intervention wrong and killed/harmed the individual. (you would be saying you are "Trained" which can being a world of hurt if you mess up)... just keep it simple, and say you were a good samaritan.

~end of soapbox~

zeke2517 07-01-2011 10:10 PM

Good Samaritan law would protect you as lomg as you are not "exercising gross negligence"

Mike A 07-02-2011 7:11 AM

If you have been certified to give first aid, you need to retain the certificate and update it with the update training every two years (easy; if I can do it, an ape can).

If the patient is conscious, you need to get verbal permission to apply first aid, always. Preferably in the hearing of a witness. Then you are covered by the Good Samaritan Law, which is fairly strong and widely acknowledged in CA. If the patient is unconscious and unable to give verbal consent, you are covered by the "implied consent" clauses of that law.

I'm NOT a lawyer, but am simply repeating the instructions of our first aid trainer, who makes his living as an EMT and has for many years, and of course is a certified FA/CPR instructor, a guy much more likely to get sued than you or me.

And you can ALWAYS be sued in our society, for just about anything. So when giving first aid, you need to act like a doctor--take your training seriously, and do your best to
"FIRST, DO NO HARM." So if you literally "don't know what you're doing," don't do it--call 911 and get a pro, then try to make the patient physically stable and comfortable as you can.

If you're trained, though, you have a moral obligation to try to render aid. Just my opinion, but based on a couple of thousand years of ethics.

It is also my opinion that everyone who is physically capable of rendering first aid should get trained and also equipped with a decent kit. And carry it with them at all times.

Why? 1) The training and the many issues it raises are 3000% more interesting and real than any "reality TV." 2) Sooner or later, we are going to have one hell of a disaster in CA. 3) In the meantime, real people get hurt every minute of every day, and they deserve help.

Disgruntled Gunny 07-02-2011 7:34 AM

Would you rather be sued for helping the guy survive, or would you rather be sued by his family for doing nothing and he died? I would rather be sued knowing I did everything I could to help another human being than to have on my conscience that I am CLS trained, yet was too scared of a lawyer to do anything.

crashbubba 07-02-2011 9:16 AM

If you really want to find the appropriate answer, I'd ask your local county EMSA. CA good samaritan law falls under Health and Safety Code. It is often revised due to case law.

On one hand you can plead ignorance since you are a soldier that's not trained as a civilian emt or medic. You don't know what is in or out of your scope of practice. On the other hand if you are sued and it goes to discovery that it was even mentioned within your training to not perform invasive procedures on civilians, you'd have a tough time.

With the recent flood of CLS and TCCC training being offered to civilians and PD tac teams, I've seen this question pop up often. These classes often teach straight from the ft Sam Houston manuals with no regard to civilian EMS regs or liabilities. it's even more difficult when the audience has zero military experience or an understanding of where this type of medicine takes place (in austere environments often while under fire).

jeep7081 07-02-2011 10:51 AM


Originally Posted by CWUSCG (Post 6692903)
I can't imagine someone getting sued for being the good samaritan, espcially if someones life was in jeporady. That's just stupid.

I thought there was a good samaritan law? No?


Tripper 07-02-2011 10:56 AM

I'll tag this and comment later from a real keyboard

Tripper 07-02-2011 1:24 PM

I agree with what Mike A said above,
ASK PERMISSION and OBTAIN IT, if a person is not concsious, consent is implied, as well as there is implied consent if it is a child and the parent/guardian is not present, otherwise consent must be by the parent.
I will simply elaborate on the negligence part.
If you have ANY type of training like 1st Aid/CPR, ONLY do what you are trained to do.
If you dont have any training at all, GET SOME, otherwise, do only what you do actually know how to do.
If you do anything that exceeds your training, is when you get beyond the Good Samaritan factor and into the negligence realm.

I am and authorized Instructor for 1st Aid/CPR/AED/WHID/Wilderness Survival and a couple more I think, this is covered in the materials for 1st Aid only very briefly. The primary focus being Permission, and doing only what you absolutely know how to do.

I would not be able to dispense medication, or perform a tracheotomy for instance, that is beyond my official training and would be negligent.

steelrain82 07-02-2011 1:49 PM

Once you've obtained permission you can only do what you've been trained. Do not exceed your training otherwise you open up a whole can of worms. I was cls certified and my roommate was our corpsman. So I learned alot. Worked as a medical assistant for awhile then became a phlebotomist for a spell. Cousin is a nurse and her man is a dr. Everything I have learned and heard is don't exceed your training and you will be good once you have permission bEcause than you will be covered under good samaritan laws. If they are unconscious than do the basics to maintain your (primary) and their (secondary) safety. Wait until ems arrives. If there bleeding out stop the bleeding though.

crashbubba 07-02-2011 2:44 PM

Well, here's the quagmire....CLS training provides skills that sometimes exceed that of a Paramedic (depending on jurisdiction). The OP can stay well within his "training" and still possibly be held negligent. When I went through years ago, it was clearly explained to me that the class was to provide us the skills to save a fellow warrior's life. No matter how useful, we were not to use invasive skills or treatments on civilians. Seems like this "liability" speech wasn't part of the OP's class. Same thing with most Army medics and Navy Corpsmen I know....their training differeniated what was military scope of practice and civilian (since most had EMT-B certification at a minimum). Since then, I've worked as a FF/EMT and an EMT instructor and have embraced the hazards of liability and civil suits. There's been many favorable incidents where CLS servicemen/women have rendered aid as good samaritans and saved civilian lives. However most of them utilized their basic assessment skills, mainted ABCs, and maybe applied a pressure dressing. What if one of these folks had their CLS bag or IFAK in their POV? And tried to give a pill pack, insert an NPA, start a saline lock (or even an EZ-IO), or use combat gauze? All of these skills exceed first aid care here in CA, some aren't even authorized for ALS in some counties (ie - hemostatic agents). Again, all within the scope of CLS/TCCC training, but well outside civilian first aid training. Would these procedures still be covered under Good Samaritan? I don't know. Hence my previous recommendation to ask your local EMSA. Food for thought....most civilian Paramedics are taught to render good samaritan care at the BLS level.

I concur with many of the previous posters that the OP attend a civilian first aid or first responder course. But that wasn't his original question.

Tripper 07-03-2011 11:04 AM

I'm thinking the combat skills would be considered similar to 'when help is delayed' except an extra level more like 'help is not coming anytime in the near future'
Leaning me towards it being excessive care, stick to the abc's in that case would likely be best but that's when your conscious may kick in and steer you into doing something you know you are more than capable of doing
As to the op, good Samaritan protects you so long as your not negligent, seeing it done on tv does not mean you know how to do it

I've been at 50 or more accident scenes, providing emergency care to victims, and been called by an attorney only once, and he only asked if I saw the cause if the accident, and if there were any injuries or if I thought the driver was injured, sorry that was like 5 years ago, he never called again after my initial statement
Do what you feel is right, it usually is

Bad Kitty 07-03-2011 12:02 PM

Outside of combat, you are not likely to need to move the person until qualified help arrives, and they took the IV stick out of the CLS course...

So that pretty much leaves you rendering first aid, which is hard to screw up. I advise my troops to do what is necessary to preserve life and mitigate suffering, in that order. But if anyone else on scene says they are a Doc, RN, or EMT...let them have it!

steelrain82 07-03-2011 12:42 PM

They took the iv stick out! That was the best part. Letting your buddy squirt blood for a bit until the corpsman yells at you to finish the iv. Good times.

George Loony 07-04-2011 12:12 AM

Arizona Good Sam law said something like if you are UNTRAINED, in cls, emt, dr, etc and help in good faith and the vic dies, you cannot be held liable. If you are trained, and CAUSE death, you can be held liable.
Even MDs don't save EVERYBODY. Even Dr McCoy couldn't save everybody.

I don't know how it is in commiefornia.

George Loony 07-04-2011 12:13 AM


Originally Posted by CWUSCG (Post 6692903)
I can't imagine someone getting sued for being the good samaritan, espcially if someones life was in jeporady. That's just stupid.

There's a LOT of stupid out there!

Tracer666 07-06-2011 2:26 PM

Yes u r protected under good samaritan law....just need the person(s)/patient(s) ok to be able to treat, unless otherwise unconscious then u r allowed to treat and fersure be protected. :)

pc_load_letter 07-06-2011 3:28 PM

The good samaritan laws are muddled. You are okay to provide medical care but outside of that, you may be sued. i.e. pull someone from a car wreck and they "become" paralyzed by you pulling them out, you could be sued.

Simply providing medical care\CPR, and you perhaps crack a rib, you are fine.

The blurry part is "what is medical care".

todd2968 07-06-2011 4:27 PM

Good Samaritan only covers those not trained that try to help. If you have been trained you are not covered. LOOK IT UP
Your Combat lifesaver is just that!! For combat. When a paramedics is 15 minutes away you don't need to apply a tourniquet, so he can keep fighting. The basics are still the basics but don't get creative and cut his/her throat and shove your pen in the hole, and you might not get sued.

Maddog5150 07-07-2011 5:25 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I dont know if any of you read my post about what happened to my sis on halloween. She went riding out in Johnson Valley with her husband and his family and unwisely seperated from the group. She dismounted her bike where then she was a victem of a hit and run. Being laid out, she called for help but if you're on a dirt bike, you arent going hear anyone. Luckly they came across her at twilight. She had her leg ripped open almost to the artery and her brain was bleeding. She is ok now and still a PITA so she is back to normal. After that I always carry a kit with me. She is a paramedic and her husband a firefighter but she was going in and out of conciousness until they were able to get her out of there and he was the last to be found when he was somewhere else looking for her.
CLS is VERY basic. Yeah the sticking comes in handy when you're drunk but less someone is in severe loss of liquids, dont stick. Other than that its the same as regular first aid :shrug: anyways, thats why I asked. Not trying to have a kit ready for SHTF zombies blow out super gunfight time :D Its actually a pretty big neon orange anti tacticool bag.

The Director 07-13-2011 10:00 AM

The answer whether you should help or not is NO.

You should be returning fire instead. :p:p:p

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