17 June 2016
Medical Protection defines a Good Samaritan act as one in which medical assistance is given, free of charge, in a bona fide medical emergency upon which you may chance, in a personal as opposed to a professional capacity, eg, assisting a fellow spectator at an event.
For doctors, ignoring such a predicament is never an option. When called into action while off duty, you must remember to make a full clinical record after treatment.
You must assess your own competence in handling the situation – eg, you may be under the influence of alcohol – and proceed accordingly.
Only intervene if the situation is an emergency. Any situation that is beyond your competence may still benefit from your input, to a degree. For example, you can use your clinical skills to take a history, make an examination to reach a preliminary assessment, and give an indication of the likely differential diagnosis. You can also suggest options for the management of the situation pending arrival of support.
We consider that a response to the GoodSAM App, provided it is in accordance with the GoodSAM App code of conduct, falls within our definition of a Good Samaritan Act.