N.J. lawmaker wants to encourage good Samaritans

The New Jersey Assembly could give final legislative approval Thursday to a measure that would remove the risk of lawsuits for using a life-saving device in the absence of emergency medical technicians or other certified personnel.

An increasing number of public places now have automated external defibrillators to assist cardiac arrest victims. New Jersey requires anyone who uses those devices to be certified.

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Cryan, D-Union, would eliminate that requirement and give immunity from civil lawsuits to anyone who steps forward in an emergency to operate a defibrillator.

“At the soccer game for your son or daughter, and someone falls into cardiac arrest and the defibrillator is there — whether someone can be certified or not, the technology will walk you through it and potentially save a life,” said Cryan.

Employees at health clubs, nursing homes, and facilities that have defibrillators still will be required to have CPR certification.

“We want to encourage people to step up, be a good Samaritan, and not be fearful of well-intentioned folks who want to do the right thing in an emergency situation,” Cryan said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.