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October 3, 1986

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Author Affiliations

Wallingford, Pa

JAMA. 1986;256(13):1723. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380130050014

To the Editor.—  The "Standards and Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC)," published in the June 6 issue of JAMA, pertain in part to medicolegal considerations and recommendations.1 The point is made that laypersons are protected under most Good Samaritan laws in performing CPR, even if they have had no formal training. I believe it is important to caution The Journal's readers that, based on developing case law, the rescue actions of a Good Samaritan may in some instances raise legal questions.There is no general legal duty to rescue a distressed stranger even if the rescue can be accomplished at no cost to the rescuer.2 The law does encourage responsible rescue attempts done in good faith.3 However, if anyone begins to rescue someone, the rescue must be completed in a nonnegligent manner, even though the rescuer had no duty of rescue