South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Good Samaritan Law Protects Emergency Medical Personnel
Description Appeals court held that emergency medical personnel who responded to an emergency, and made a mistake in the care they offered that may have contributed to the death suffered by the injured party, were protected by the Good Samaritan law unless their behavior was intentional or wanton negligence.
Topic Torts
Key Words Good Samaritan; Emergency Medical Personnel
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Julia Moore suffered a seizure while at a restaurant. Emergency help was called. Trevino and Gonzales arrived by ambulance and attempted CPR on Julia, who was not breathing and had no pulse. When that did not work, they inserted a breathing tube in her throat and gave her a shot to stimulate the heart. That revived Julia, who was then taken to a hospital with the help of personnel from another ambulance that had arrived. Because the breathing tube was not properly inserted, it may have contributed to Julia's failure to ever recover. Her husband sued the emergency personnel for negligence. The trial court dismissed the suit. Julia's husband appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The Texas Good Samaritan Statute shields emergency medical services personnel from liability absent evidence that the personnel acted willfully or with wanton negligence. The fact that the personnel are paid for their services does not affect the outcome; they attempted to provide medical assistance beyond their expected ability. Had they been licensed physicians who made such a mistake under the same circumstances, there may have been liability, but not in this circumstance.

Citation Moore v. Trevino, --- S.W.3d --- (2002 WL 31556350, Ct. App., Tex., 2002)

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