Times of trouble
Good Samaritan acts further come into play where disasters are involved. This may be at a community level – for example, the 2007 Joe’s River Accident and the Brittons Hill Arch Cot Cave Collapse Tragedy in Barbados – or at an international level, such as the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, where medical expertise was obtained from many agencies outside Haiti. During these events, medical assistance initially came from the community before island-wide resources were brought in at regional and international levels.
Several teams of doctors and paramedics rendered much needed assistance in difficult conditions in Haiti. There were instances where, due to suboptimal conditions, the outcome was likely to be poor. At this time, MPS received many calls from members asking about medicolegal cover and whether they would be protected if the care they provided led to a poor outcome, and was later challenged by the courts.
MPS was able to assure members that, in a disaster situation, many of the conventional ‘rules of engagement’ do not apply. The role of those rendering assistance was primarily humanitarian and MPS is able to extend its indemnity to doctors acting as a good Samaritan, as long as the doctor is acting in the best interests of the patient.