|Health Club Has No Duty to Render Skilled Medical Aid to Patrons|
Appeals court reversed a jury verdict, holding that a health club had no obligation to render skilled medical aid, such as CPR or a defibrillator, to a patron who suffered a heart attack. The club properly attended to the patron while waiting for the ambulance.
Negligence; Duty to Render Aid
|C A S E S U M M A R Y|
Strayer, a manager at an L.A. Fitness club in Florida, heard someone call for help. He ran to where the call was coming from and told a receptionist to call 911. A group of patrons were standing around Tringali, who had fallen off a stair-stepper machine and was on his back shaking from small convulsions and foaming at the mouth. Strayer, who had CPR training, decided not to give CPR as he detected a pulse and Tringali was red in the face, indicating blood flow. But his color began to fade about the time the paramedics arrived, which was within three or four minutes from the time he got to Tringali. Some patrons claimed Strayer did nothing. The paramedics used CRP and a defibrillator, but Tringali was dead. His daughter sued L.A. Fitness for negligence by failure to render aid. The jury awarded $620,000 in damages. L.A. Fitness appealed.
Reversed and remanded. When a legal duty exists, a defendant must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. The duty of care is a question of law. Even if a business owner has a duty to provide first aid to business invitees facing medical emergencies, such obligation does not encompass the duty to perform skilled treatment such as CPR. Strayer made a reasonable assessment of the situation and did not think CPR would be wise; that was not unreasonable on his part as he is not a medical professional. He did nothing to worsen Tringali’s situation; he had called for help immediately, which was the right thing to do. Further, L.A. Fitness was not negligent for not having an automatic external defibrillator on the premises. There is no general duty to have such equipment.
L.A. Fitness International, LLC v. Mayer, ---So.2d--- (2008 WL 1805778, Ct. App., Fla., 2008)
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