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May 11th, 2012

New Jersey Protects ‘Good Samaritans’ Trying to Save Lives

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed into law a refreshingly bipartisan act by the state legislature that will protect good samaritans who use portable defibrillators to try to save the lives of sudden heart attack victims.

As reported by NJToday.net, the “law, S-852, eliminates language in state statute that requires a person using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to have received training in both CPR and the usage of the AED. The law reduces requirements that entities require CPR and AED training for all people who might use the AED to just the people most likely to use the device.”

More importantly, it “provides immunity from civil liability to any lay person who uses an AED and fails, in good faith, to request emergency medical assistance as soon as practical. It also provides immunity to the organization that has acquired the AED. AEDs are designed to walk someone who may never have used the device through the steps to safely perform the defibrillation process. Current devices speak the instructions, step-by-step, and will only administer a defibrillation if the victim needs it.”

Roughly 300,000 people in the U.S. suffer sudden cardiac arrest each year, and health experts say there is a 90 percent chance of survival if defibrillation is performed within the first minute of the crisis.

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