Automated External Defibrillator



Friends of mine have an auto mechanic shop and were sold an AED some time ago.  They recieved no training and are justifiably concerned that they can be liable if they use it without training or if they have it and don't use it in an appropriate emergency.

They are also concerned that they might need to have a relationship with a physician in order to have to or use the AED at all.

How should I advise them?

Dr. R


Legitimate concern.  NYS has a law directly on point - Public Health Law, Article 30, which addresses and provides in relevant part -
§ 3000-b.  Automated external defibrillators: Public access providers
3. Possession and operation of automated external defibrillator. Possession and operation of an automated external defibrillator by a public access defibrillation provider shall comply with the following:

(a) No person may operate an automated external defibrillator unless the person has successfully completed a training course in the operation of an automated external defibrillator approved by a nationally-recognized organization or the state emergency medical services council. However, this section shall not prohibit operation of an automated external defibrillator, (i) by a health care practitioner licensed or certified under title VIII of the education law or a person certified under this article acting within his or her lawful scope of practice [fig 1] ; (ii) by a person acting pursuant to a lawful prescription; or (iii) by a person who operates the automated external defibrillator other than as part of or incidental to his or her employment or regular duties, who is acting in good faith, with reasonable care, and without expectation of monetary compensation, to provide first aid that includes operation of an automated external defibrillator; nor shall this section limit any good samaritan protections provided in section three thousand-a of this article.
  NY CLS Pub Health § 3000-b

As the business owners have knowingly purchased an AED to maintain on premises, I recommend the advice you relay is their obligation to receive proper training prior to utilizing same.  Of note, NYS's good samaritan law would protect against liability from the premises owners providing the AED to an authorized user in an emergency situation - similarly the same law would protect a good samaritan acting under emergency circumstances.  The relevant provisions follow -

§ 3000-a.  Emergency medical treatment

   1. Except as provided in subdivision six of section six thousand six hundred eleven, subdivision two of section six thousand five hundred twenty-seven, subdivision one of section six thousand nine hundred nine and sections six thousand five hundred forty-seven and six thousand seven hundred thirty-seven of the education law, any person who voluntarily and without expectation of monetary compensation renders first aid or emergency treatment at the scene of an accident or other emergency outside a hospital, doctor's office or any other place having proper and necessary medical equipment, to a person who is unconscious, ill, or injured, shall not be liable for damages for injuries alleged to have been sustained by such person or for damages for the death of such person alleged to have occurred by reason of an act or omission in the rendering of such emergency treatment unless it is established that such injuries were or such death was caused by gross negligence on the part of such person. Nothing in this section shall be deemed or construed to relieve a licensed physician, dentist, nurse, physical therapist or registered physician's assistant from liability for damages for injuries or death caused by an act or omission on the part of such person while rendering professional services in the normal and ordinary course of his or her practice.
2. (i) [fig 1] Any person who, or entity, partnership, corporation, firm or society that, purchases, operates, facilitates implementation or makes available resuscitation equipment that facilitates first aid, an automated external defibrillator or an epinephrine auto-injector device as required by or pursuant to law or local law, or (ii) an emergency health care provider under a collaborative agreement pursuant to section three thousand-b of this article with respect to an automated external defibrillator, or (iii) the emergency health care provider with a collaborative agreement under section three thousand-c of this article with respect to use of an epinephrine auto-injector device, shall not be liable for damages arising either from the use of that equipment by a person who voluntarily and without expectation of monetary compensation renders first aid or emergency treatment at the scene of an accident or medical emergency, or from the use of defectively manufactured equipment; provided that this subdivision shall not limit the person's or entity's, partnership's, corporation's, firm's, society's or the emergency health care provider's liability for his, her or its own negligence, gross negligence or intentional misconduct.  NY CLS Pub Health § 3000-a



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