A snowboarder at Vail Resort named Peter Roskovich recently collapsed and went into sudden cardiac arrest. The Vail Ski Patrol sprang into action using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to temporary restore Roskovich’s pulse. Using a snowmobile, the patrol began transporting him to seek medical care. Strangely, Dr. Greenberg, a Vail Valley Medical Center cardiologist, happened to be skiing at the resort that day and upon realizing the circumstances, began further life preservation efforts during transport to the hospital. Greenberg then performed an emergency procedure using a balloon pump placed in his aorta to clear the main arteries of the heart. These efforts saved the life of Roskovich and he did not suffer any neurological damage. This incident highlighted the importance of the Colorado Senate’s Bill 09-010, which encourages individuals to assist in medical emergencies without fear of civil liability.
Colorado Senate Bill
Senate Bill 09-010 affords immunity for those who use automated external defibrillators (AED’s) in emergency situations. The immunity is extended to either a licensed physician who is familiar with the usage of the devices or any individual who provides AED-based training. The bill was added to the evolving Colorado Statute 13-21-108 with the following details:
- Any board licensed physician or surgeon who provides on-site medical assistance in an emergency situation to someone is not liable for civil actions resulting from the assistance, unless the acts were based on gross negligence or knowingly harmful.
- Immunity in these circumstances also applies for those who are part of a volunteer rescue unit, such as a ski patrol.
- An employer shall not be civilly liable for employees who attempt to provide emergency assistance in the course of their employment.
CO Statute 22-1-125: AEDs in Public Schools
The General Assembly wishes to encourage the acquisition, installation, and usage of AED units within public schools; therefore, they instituted the following provisions:
- AED units must meet current FDA standards and be kept in proper condition maintained according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
- These AED units should be designed for usage on both adults and children.
- Usage of these emergency devices should be limited to during school activities and when on school property.
- Individuals who attempt to use an AED for emergency care are not civilly liable for resulting damages unless the acts were based on gross negligence or knowingly harmful.
Colorado laws seek to offer immunity in situations where actions of “a good Samaritan” are needed. Unfortunately, many accidents are caused by reckless or negligent actions of an individual, which are certainly not shielded from immunity. If you have been injured due to the careless actions of another individual, we will seek justice on your behalf to compensate for your afflictions. Contact The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal for a consultation today at (303) 825-2223.