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August 13, 1982

Medical Emergencies in Flight-Reply

JAMA. 1982;248(6):648. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330060016019

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In Reply.—  The Air Emergency Task Force was unable to find any cases in which a physician had been sued after responding as a Good Samaritan to an in-flight emergency. This does not guarantee that future litigation will never occur. Without a previous example, it is unknown whether the commercial airline would assist the physician's defense. However, the Air Emergency Task Force believes that, as humanitarians, physicians should offer their assistance if a call for help is issued. Dr Klemes is to be congratulated for his response and his good judgment in handling the emergency.Periodically, bills are presented to Congress (eg, HR260, introduced Jan 5, 1981, by Rep Guyer, R-Ohio) that would provide a uniform national legal policy. Such a law would supersede states' rights. Consequently, no bills have passed through Congress to date, and it is questionable whether passage will occur in the foreseeable future. Incidentally, the American