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Pennsylvania Good Samaritan Act

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes

Title 42.  Judiciary and Judicial Procedure

Part VII.  Civil Actions and Proceedings

Chapter 83.  Particular Rights and Immunities

Subchapter C.  Immunities Generally

42 Pa.C.S. § 8331 (2016)

§ 8331.  Medical good Samaritan civil immunity.

(a) General rule. —

Any physician or any other practitioner of the healing arts or any registered nurse, licensed by any state, who happens by chance upon the scene of an emergency or who arrives on the scene of an emergency by reason of serving on an emergency call panel or similar committee of a county medical society or who is called to the scene of an emergency by the police or other duly constituted officers of a government unit or who is present when an emergency occurs and who, in good faith, renders emergency care at the scene of the emergency, shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions by such physician or practitioner or registered nurse in rendering the emergency care, except any acts or omissions intentionally designed to harm or any grossly negligent acts or omissions which result in harm to the person receiving emergency care.

(b) Definition. —

As used in this section “good faith” shall include, but is not limited to, a reasonable opinion that the immediacy of the situation is such that the rendering of care should not be postponed until the patient is hospitalized.

HISTORY: Act 1976-142 (S.B. 935), P.L. 586, § 2, approved July 9, 1976, See section of this act for effective date information.

NOTES:

EDITOR’S NOTES.

Section 2 of Act 1976-142 enacted new subchapter C, “Immunities Generally.”

1. Neither the Emergency Medical Services Act, Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 35, §§ 6921 to 6938, nor the AED Good Samaritan Act, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8331.2, imposed a duty upon a tennis club to acquire, maintain, and use an automated external defibrillator, as defined in 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8331.2(f), and summary judgment was properly entered against a tennis player who suffered a stroke while playing tennis and sought damages for the club’s negligence in failing to have a defibrillator available for such an emergency. Atcovitz v. Gulph Mills Tennis Club, Inc., 571 Pa. 580, 812 A.2d 1218, 2002 Pa. LEXIS 2832 (Pa. 2002).

2. Good Samaritan statute did not apply to a situation where a doctor received a telephone call from a hospital and provided advice for treatment of a hospitalized patient who was suffering from respiratory difficulties; the statute did not provide the doctor with a defense to an action resulting from the death of the patient and the doctor’s summary judgment motion was denied. The Good Samaritan statute did not apply because the doctor was not at the scene of an emergency, as required by 42 Pa.C.S. § 8331(a), and § 8331(b) implied that the statute did not apply to hospitalized patients. Phebus v. UPMC Horizon, 71 Pa. D. & C.4th 513, 2005 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 68 (Pa. County Ct. 2005).

3. Neither the Emergency Medical Services Act, Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 35, §§ 6921 to 6938, nor the AED Good Samaritan Act, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8331.2, imposed a duty upon a tennis club to acquire, maintain, and use an automated external defibrillator, as defined in 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8331.2(f), and summary judgment was properly entered against a tennis player who suffered a stroke while playing tennis and sought damages for the club’s negligence in failing to have a defibrillator available for such an emergency. Atcovitz v. Gulph Mills Tennis Club, Inc., 571 Pa. 580, 812 A.2d 1218, 2002 Pa. LEXIS 2832 (Pa. 2002).

4. Good Samaritan statute did not apply to a situation where a doctor received a telephone call from a hospital and provided advice for treatment of a hospitalized patient who was suffering from respiratory difficulties; the statute did not provide the doctor with a defense to an action resulting from the death of the patient and the doctor’s summary judgment motion was denied. The Good Samaritan statute did not apply because the doctor was not at the scene of an emergency, as required by 42 Pa.C.S. § 8331(a), and § 8331(b) implied that the statute did not apply to hospitalized patients. Phebus v. UPMC Horizon, 71 Pa. D. & C.4th 513, 2005 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 68 (Pa. County Ct. 2005).

5. Neither the Emergency Medical Services Act, Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 35, §§ 6921 to 6938, nor the AED Good Samaritan Act, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8331.2, imposed a duty upon a tennis club to acquire, maintain, and use an automated external defibrillator, as defined in 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8331.2(f), and summary judgment was properly entered against a tennis player who suffered a stroke while playing tennis and sought damages for the club’s negligence in failing to have a defibrillator available for such an emergency. Atcovitz v. Gulph Mills Tennis Club, Inc., 571 Pa. 580, 812 A.2d 1218, 2002 Pa. LEXIS 2832 (Pa. 2002).

3943. 14-246 Pennsylvania Transaction Guide–Legal Forms § 246.31, Division 1 Individuals and Families, Standard of Care Owed by Health Care Providers.

3944. 38 P.L.E. PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS § 25, Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia, Acts or Omissions Constituting Malpractice, Copyright 2013, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

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