During the course of a year, the attorneys at Fager Amsler Keller & Schoppmann, LLP, counsel to MLMIC Insurance Company, handle approximately 5,000 questions from policyholders on professional liability, risk management and healthcare law. Frequently, the questions asked by healthcare professionals involve requests for legal guidance on the Good Samaritan and DNR Laws.
Here, we’ve paired the FAQs on medical professional liability related to informed consent with the attorneys’ responses.
Does the Good Samaritan Law protect me from being sued?
No, the Good Samaritan Law does not protect you from being sued if you are in your office or a hospital. It provides that any licensed physician who voluntarily, without expectations of receiving monetary compensation, renders first aid or emergency treatment at the scene of an accident or other emergency which occurs in a location other than the doctor’s office, a hospital or other healthcare facility, to a person who is unconscious, ill or injured shall not be liable for damages. This protection from liability, however, does not apply if the doctor is grossly negligent.
If a patient has a DNR order, must I write another order saying “Do not intubate?”
A DNR order can specify what resuscitative efforts a patient wants. For example, the patient may desire CPR and certain medications but does not want to be intubated. It is very important to carefully discuss with the patient, family, surrogate or proxy agent exactly what a DNR order means and what the patient wants. The competent patient and/or family should be advised that if a DNR order is issued, the following actions will not be taken if the patient suffers a cardiac or respiratory arrest. They include:
- mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
- external chest compression
- electric shock
- insertion of a tube to open the patient’s airway
- injection of medication into the heart, or
- open chest heart message.
The attorneys of Fager Amsler Keller & Schoppmann, LLP (FAKS) perform thousands of hours of professional liability services per year. They are uniquely qualified to assess medical-legal issues and provide counsel to minimize liability exposure. MLMIC policyholders can reach 24/7 legal support services by calling (855) FAKS-LAW or emailing hotline@FAKSLAW.com. For more information about these services, offered exclusively to MLMIC policyholders, visit our web page on Legal 24/7.