Are licensed healthcare professionals required to stop at accident scenes?

By | 2022-02-11T11:15:10-05:00 December 7th, 2009|0 Comments

Question:

Dear Nancy,

As a CNA, am I required to stop at the scene of an accident? Are any licensed professionals required to stop?

Stella

Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Stella,

Some states require health care providers to stop at the scene of an accident and provide whatever care they can until emergency services arrive. Other states provide a more “voluntary” approach to a healthcare provider rendering help at the scene of an accident or emergency through the passage of a good Samaritan law (or similar name). The statute provides immunity from a suit by the person treated if there is an injury unless the care provided was the result of willful or wanton negligence. Healthcare providers most often protected under the law include physicians, nurses, and dentists.

Whether your state has a law requiring healthcare providers to provide care at the scene of an accident and/or has a good Samaritan law is information you will need to obtain from a nurse attorney or attorney in your state. Additional information you will need to ask the attorney about is which health care providers are included/protected in the law or laws.

Another resource for you to seek out this information is your educational program that you attended to become a CNA. A faculty member would be able to discuss these issues with you. In preparation for that discussion, you can try and locate the law or laws yourself. Go to your state’s legislative Web page and type “Good Samaritan Law” in the search bar and see if any law is identified. Searching a phrase such as “duty of health care worker to stop at the scene of an accident” also might result in valuable information. Remember, though, this exercise’s results should not be relied upon as the actual state of the law, since it is sometimes difficult to identify laws in this manner unless the actual name of the statute you are looking for is used.

Cordially,
Nancy

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