Louisiana’s Good Samaritan Law in favor of Licensed Medical Professionals

September 6, 2023by Shannon Eldridge0

Have you ever been at the scene of an emergency and hesitated to render assistance even though you had medical training? As a medical professional do you worry about liability from acting at the scene of an emergency? Louisiana law offers some reassurance to those hesitant to take action to render first aid or to respond to an emergency.

RS 37:1731 “Gratuitous service at scene of emergency; emergency care at hospitals; limitation of liability” addresses a physician, surgeon, nurse or physician assistant licensed under Louisiana law and who in good faith gratuitously renders emergency care or services at the scene of an emergency, to a person in need. Under those circumstances, those medical professionals shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission in rendering such care or services or as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further medical treatment or care for the person involved in said emergency, unless the damage or injury was caused by willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence.

Similar protection is extended for a physician, on-call physician, or surgeon or oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or his professional medical or dental corporation or limited liability company or nurse, or an intern, or resident of a public or private hospital or other medical healthcare facility licensed in this state, who in good faith responds to an imminent life-threatening situation or emergency within the hospital or facility and whose actual duty in the hospital or facility did not require a response to an emergency situation. Those persons shall not be liable for civil damages resulting from any act or omission in rendering the emergency care or service or from failure to provide or arrange for further medical care or treatment of the person involved, unless the damage or injury was caused by willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence.

However, this limitation of liability only extends to those who were not contemporaneously attending or a consulting physician or surgeon to the person involved or when the nurse was a contemporaneously attending nurse to the person involved.

It is interesting to note that even veterinarians are granted protection from liability. RS 35:1731 C provides that no licensed veterinarian who in good faith gratuitously renders emergency care or services or assistance at the scene of an emergency to an animal or animals in need thereof, shall be liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission by such person in rendering the care or services or assistance, or as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further veterinary medical treatment or care for the animal involved in the said emergency.

You should read the full text of Louisiana Revised State 37:1731, if you have specific questions about the application of the statute to yourself or your practice. An experienced healthcare lawyer may be of assistance to you by answering questions you may have about specific circumstances.

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