The Good Samaritan Law: Is Home Rescue Covered? - FELLOW NURSES AFRICA
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November 30, 2018

The Good Samaritan Law: Is Home Rescue Covered?

Nobody wants to be a good Samaritan any longer, you know why? The world is so filled with dangers, and corruption that we are so scared of going out of our houses because we are not sure of what can happen to the house few minutes after our departure. Nurses by virtue of their jobs should be good Samaritans, they should see a woman who is sick and weak and render help to her even if it means offering her a bottle of water: ask the next man who is suddenly sweating profusely if he is well. Most of us nurses are nurses within the hospital walls and outside the hospital we are like every normal citizen, we are scared to render help.

The question is why?



Nurse Robert returned from work at 6pm, she was too tired to change her clothes, like every other day she pulled off her trekkers and jumped on her bed to catch some sleep before fixing her dinner. 20minutes later,  she heard a knock on the door, with a woman who seemed to be panting behind the door asking if Nurse Robert was at home. Without hesitation, Robert opened the door only to see the woman who owned the stall close to her house. She stared at the woman,  tried to ask if she was well,  but the question will sound stupid, the woman was apparently not well,  so she asked what the problem was.
come and help me, my child is sick. He is shivering, he is coughing, I have given him paracetamol, it is not working.” She said,  and continued panting simultaneously

Nurse Robert smirked, and muttered underneath her breathe, “who gives paracetamol to a child that is coughing in this century?” she stared at the woman, she wanted to tell the woman to take the child to the nearest hospital, then she felt her neighbors would say she does not know anything that was why she asked them to go to the hospital. She picked her first aid box,  and followed the woman behind.

Robert wondered what exactly could be wrong with the child, she had administered antipyretic medications, yet it proved abortive, to make matter worse,  the patient had three episodes of convulsions after her arrival. She lived in a rural area,  there was no way she could get an anticonvulsant, she only had to assure the mother that the boy will be well. She tried taking history from the mother to know when the boy presented the symptoms, she said it all started an hour before she called her and her baby never had a convulsion.

Robert was worried, she rushed back home to take her purse so she can take the boy to the hospital, by the time she returned the boy had given up the ghost. On arrival at the scene, she saw a spoon in the boy’s mouth, he must have had another episode of convulsion, she wished she could saved him, but alas it was too late.

The deceased father returned from work and arrested Robert for killing his son with the wrong medication.

This is one of the dramatic and sad stories we hear and see around us. Should in case it happens around you, how should you act?

You should act like the good Samaritan, but a wise one this time around.
Good Samaritan acts are laws designed to protect people who provide assistance at the site of an emergency. The act keep citizens who stop to render aid from being charged or sued for any injuries or liability. In some countries,  the law applies to everyone. The law protects heath care providers like nurses and doctors who give first aid care.

What you should do before you become a good Samaritan 
- Make sure the patient is free from further dangers: In cases of road traffic accidents, endeavor that the patient is free from another car accident, move the patient from the road side before going around to seek for help. If it is at home, take the patient away from water, fire of whatever can also put the person in danger.

- Call for help: Imagine if Robert had called for help, perhaps she had taken the boy to the hospital on the next bike, the boy could have survived it, if he never survived it, she would never had been accused of administration of the wrong medication.

- Check if the patient is alive: Nurses are smart people, don’t be too emotional not to notice if a person is alive or dead. The aim of this is to help you clear any form of crime in case anything happens.

- Do what you know how to do: Every nurse should have a basic knowledge on Basic life support, CPR, ALS. There are times when you face situations that you can’t seem to handle alone, don’t be embarrassed to work away. I read  a story of a midwife who tried to rescue her neighbor who was pregnant, and while delivering the baby, she lost both the child and the mother to complications, she was sued to court.

- Never assume that a patient is too well to die: There are several assumptions that goes on especially on home services or home treatment, as the case may be. Still using the case of Nurse Robert, we are not sure of what exactly caused the death of the child,  but we know he had several episodes of convulsions, cough and fever. What if the child was anemic, or he had a respiratory tract infection, or complicated malaria or one those diseases that attacks under 5 children. She assumed she could handle it, but it back fired.

Before you try to act like a good Samaritan, think wisely and make your choice.

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