Don’t count on strangers in a medical emergency

So long, good Samaritans.

In the first study of its kind, Cornell sociologists have found that people who have a medical emergency in a public place can’t necessarily rely on the kindness of strangers. Only 2.5 percent of people, or 1 in 39, got help from strangers before emergency medical personnel arrived, in research published April 14 in the American Journal of Public Health.

For African-Americans, these dismal findings only get worse. African-Americans were less than half as likely as Caucasians to get help from a bystander, regardless of the type of symptoms or illness they were suffering – only 1.8 percent, or fewer than 1 in 55 African-Americans, received assistance. For Caucasians, the corresponding number was 4.2 percent, or 1 in 24.

People in lower-income and densely populated counties were also less likely to get help, the researchers said. Conversely, those in less-densely populated counties with average socioeconomic levels were most likely to get assistance.

Here is more, via Charles Klingman.

Comments

There is no incentive to help. If you help, you're responsible for everything that goes wrong, but you get no reward.

If you don't help, you can rely on plausible deniablity. It's quite rational. I would never help a stranger either.

Related: https://blog.jaibot.com/the-copenhagen-interpretation-of-ethics/

Diversity lowers trust. As the US becomes more diverse and less white, helping strangers will decrease.

Diversity lowers trust: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x/abstract

Non hispanic whites are the most philantropic: https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/handle/1805/6380

Maybe diversity lowers trust primarily if there are problems with racism? Incidentally, last time I had property stolen it was while living in an exclusively white small town ...

Also, I wonder if in the "philanthropic" stats if they asked people how many hours a week they spent babysitting or otherwise attending to children for family, friends or neighbours, enabling them to take some shifts at work, for example. Anyways, it's not at all surprising that people who know many people in need will have lower charitable giving statistics than others. Why give to a charity when you know your sister can't afford new shoes for the kids?

They don't control for income?

Yes, they controlled for income. But the point is that among the poor a lot of charity will happen outside of formal channels and be given directly where it is needed.

To what extent can favors for family and neighbors be fairly characterized as "charity," though, as opposed to an inexact and primitive form of barter. If I live in a community where everyone is unemployed and so has lots of free time but very little currency, time becomes the currency and I do favors for my neighbor (such as babysitting or maintenance) in exchange for the expectation of future favors. Such an exchange is hardly apples-to-apples with donating a large sum of money to the Red Cross.

Note what the research deftly avoids: conclusions about the characteristics of people who help.

Blacks are less likely to get help.
People in densely populated areas are less likely to get help.
People in low income areas are less likely to get help.

What color is the 800 lbs gorilla in this room?

'If you help, you’re responsible for everything that goes wrong, but you get no reward.'

Not in Virginia, which has a Good Samaritan law - 'The Good Samaritan Law in Virginia controls what the liability (or non-liability) for a third party comes to the aid of an already-injured person in an emergency situation.

§ 8.01-225of the Virginia Code states that any person who “in good faith, renders emergency care or assistance, without compensation, to any ill or injured person at the scene of an accident, fire, or any life-threatening emergency, or en route therefrom to any hospital, medical clinic or doctor’s office, shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or missions resulting from the rendering of such care or assistance.”' http://www.hsinjurylaw.com/library/virginia-and-the-good-samaritan-law-an-overview.cfm

As you yourself have acknowledged, it reduces liability. It does not *eliminate* liability, which is prohibited under the due process clause of the Constitution. This is hardly attractive to the bystanders.

The due process in now way prohibits elimination of liability. Sovereign immunity for example is still permissible, except to the extent waived by congress by statute. Even the parts of the constitution dealing with this have nothing to do with due process but rather the right to civil trial by Jury.

You can help and still use plausible deniability. You just have to take off and deny helping, which is what I would do. Not sure if there were any camera in the study preventing this.

Its not so much socio-economic status but appearance. A well dressed, clean-shaven man below the poverty line will be be more likely to get help that an unkept millionaire with several days growth of beard and grungy clothes

All the insurmountable amount of evidence to this contrary.

Presented with numerous studies of the overwhelming amount of racism still left in America, the right continues to say "no, I reject scientific studies unless they confirm my world view."

(And yes, the left does it when studies disprove their views as well).

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney?page=2

Presented with numerous studies of the overwhelming amount of racism still left in America

I'll file that the same place with statements like 'the overwhelming amount of Irish Catholic sexual prudery still left in America.

C'mon, buddy, we live here.

This wouldn't be funny if it came from anyone but AD

Try writing "blacks are perfectly well just as good as whites but they haven't fully recovered from history yet, and also face discrimination" and observe the response.

Is racism marginal in America?

Is it racist to have an accurate opinion informed by science? I assume by "perfectly well just as good" you mean "exactly the same". And anyone who thinks that is rightfully condemned a fool.

Since when does "as good as you" mean "the same"?

I think pizza and sushi are roughly "just as good", but they are not at all the same.

And about the "science", we've had this debate several times over already. Kudoz for citing probably the most (only) legitimately questioning effort into the subject which wasn't riddled was 1st year stats errors and which seriously attempted to address likely critiques. And ... remember, his conclusion was that the vast sum of 1% of differences could not be explained away by other factors?

"overwhelming" - bwhahahaha.

Alain will be right back with his overwhelming evidence that racism doesn't exist.

The original post specified: "overwhelming amount of racism still left in America". Alain didn't say or imply that racism doesn't exist in America. Merely that's it's ridiculous to classify it as overwhelming.

'Merely that’s it’s ridiculous to classify it as overwhelming.'

What adjective do you prefer then? Let us use this example - 'In its report, the task force pointed to data from the Chicago police that it said “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

The task force looked at more than 400 shootings in Chicago from 2008 to 2015 and found that about three-quarters of the people wounded or killed in police shootings were black. Hispanic people accounted for 14 percent of those shot, while white people made up 8 percent of them.

Similar proportions were found among people hit with Tasers in recent years. Census data show that black, Hispanic and white people make up nearly equal slices of the city’s population.' https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/04/13/chicago-police-force-plagued-by-justified-lack-of-community-trust-and-racial-bias-report-says/

Suffice to say that it's a lot compared to a lot of other places.

What % of criminals in Chicago are black, genius?

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/25/race-and-justice-much-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/

"it’s a lot compared to a lot of other places."

What other places? China?

Cliff - Well, I could list off all the countries I've been to and mention that racism isn't a particularly big deal in almost all of them except for America. Australia might be an exception. Like American, there is perhaps about 2/3 of people that are basically not racist, most of the other 1/3 is definitely a bit racist but not particularly offensive about it, and perhaps another 1-2% who get their jollies going around heaping shit on minorities.

Any idea why it's usually racist people who claim that there's no racism?

The task force looked at more than 400 shootings in Chicago from 2008 to 2015 and found that about three-quarters of the people wounded or killed in police shootings were black. Hispanic people accounted for 14 percent of those shot, while white people made up 8 percent of them

It's Chicago, stupid. That's what the criminal class looks like there.

If appearance wasn't controlled for, then their comment may be a fair critique. If not, then it depends on the window on which your priors are set. Last 60 years look a lot different than the last 12. If someone denies change, then the additional data in the longer window would be a sounder foundation. If someone believes that there has been significant change, then the shorter window might be more representative. Denying general improvement is almost as stupid as denying racism's existence... and so we go back-and-forth and round-and-round ad nauseam.

I thought that was what comments were for, to post rejection of reality, and receive +10 from your tribe.

-1

If this and the lead thread are the models, updated reality is not required. All that matters is whether you can repeat beliefs crystalized 30 years ago.

Racism is outside the bounds of my observation. i'm just talking about variables that can be controlled (appearance/grooming)

I have no doubt racism is involved.Certainly!

that said, take two identical persons of same age/race - the odds of a good Samaritan helping will be increased as the appearance increases.

Just Saying: So you present evidence of people rejecting fake studies as being unscientific? Very leftist of you.

On the other hand, people in distress can expect to be filmed by bystanders using their smart phones. Why not uber-style EMTs?

Well, rich people in South Africa have their own, private EMT services. Why not here?

Come now, don't discuss future posts in the comments, it takes away all the fun.

After all, this web site has already decried the excessive amount of public funding going to fire departments - 'According to Nightline it costs $3,500 every time a fire truck pulls out of a fire station in Washington, DC (25 calls in a 24 hour shift is not uncommon so this adds up quickly). Moreover, most of the time the call is not for a fire but for a minor medical problem. In many cities, both fire trucks and ambulances respond to the same calls. The paramedics do a great job but it is hard to believe that this is an efficient way to deliver medical care and transportation. A few locales have experimented with more rational systems. For example:

For calls that are not a life or death, Eastside Fire and Rescue stations [in WA state] will no longer send out a fire truck but instead an SUV with one certified medic firefighter.

Sounds obvious, but it’s hard to negotiate with heroes especially when they are unionized with strong featherbedding contracts.' http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/07/firefighters-dont-fight-fires.html

And what do you object to exactly about that post?

Not everyone knows what to do. How do you help if someone appears to have a heart attack ? or if someone has just been shot ( beyond calling 911)
In poorer neighborhoods , there is also less trust and less inclination to get involved.

News flash! Most people aren't trained EMTs. So, when is the tenure and promotion committee meeting on their cases?

2 short afternoons once late in high school would do the trick for training in all the basics. Considering how many people here believe that school is a waste of time (perhaps we even learn negative knowledge during our 12-13 years leading to high school graduation?), I'm surprised that there aren't more suggestions for practical life skills that could take some hours away from all that useless curriculum.

Yes, it would cost money.

Forgive me if I doubt your expertise in this area (read: any area)

That's how long the first level of first aid takes. https://www.sja.ca/English/Courses-and-Training/Pages/Course%20Descriptions/Emergency-First-Aid-Courses.aspx

What don't you save your criticisms for something that you're at least not COMPLETELY ignorant about?

I have taken a short course in first aid and I am pretty sure you don't want me if you have a heart attack or a stroke or your leg is run over by a car. I am all for rationalizing the size of government but staffing EMS with people who spent two afternoons in high school learning first aid is NOT the answer. It would be as penny wise and pound foolish a decision as has ever been taken.

I don't suggest staffing the EMS with these people. They would be better prepared to respond more effectively than otherwise in a fair few situations, but obviously still real professionals would be needed to take over as soon as possible. Even with advanced life guard training, calling for help is a very high priority, among other reasons because people don't have advanced medical equipment in their pockets.

It's trivial to throw together a course in basic first aid; it's substantially more difficult to provide enough repetition that someone will actually be able to comfortably recall that training in a real emergency. High schoolers retain little of the actually-useful information they're given; what would lead us to expect a different result for first aid?

I think that's a very good point.

However, I might expect a somewhat different result for first aid anyways, because it's not abstract learning. There is some book stuff, but a lot of what's most relevant is learned by doing, actively practicing some different skills, with problem solving and discussion of how to deal with situations. It's easy to forget some words on a page that don't seem to be at all related to anything in your life. But I think not so easy to completely forget something that you actually do, and which at the time of learning can be assumed to be relevant to protecting the lives of people you care about (or even strangers).

Results. Bystanders provided help to patients suffering a wide range of medical emergencies, but only about 1 in 39 patients (2.57%) received bystander support.

Wagers they contrived a definition of 'support' to jibe with a pre-determined conclusion. This is an extension of Jack Dovidio's work. Dr. Dovidio's a decent chap in many respects. However, there is only one right answer in these studies.

How are they defining help and how are they defining public place. Is calling 911 help? Were they ignored or did no one spot them?

"We analyzed data on 22 487 patients from the 2011 National Emergency Medical Services Information System, which we linked to characteristics of counties where the incidents occurred."

I doubt this means what it sounds like, calling 911 is help and someone did that in all of the reported cases. I have a balance problem so I need a cane and look unsteady when I walk and one or more stanrager offers to help me almost every time I go out and always when I fall.

I agree with T. Without a definition of "help" in this context, we do not know what we are talking about (and the fact that people are already fighting above over "racism" tells more on us than on what happens when someone has a medical problem a street.

Joan is right that help can't just been "calling 911", even though this is often the most important and efficient help you can give someone in such a situation. Is "calling 911 and talking to the person with a medical emergency, asking basic questions and providing encouragements" enough to be considered for help. That what I would do in such a situation, and that what the good Samaritan, who helped me when I passed out on while jogging on a street in Belmont MA, did. And I think it is the optimal amount of help you can give, except if you are a nurse or doctor or otherwise trained.

If it's a serious accident, creating a safe space around the injured person and just holding their hand can go a long way even if you don't have a clue what to do medically speaking.

????????????????

Do I have to spell it out for you? You don't want them getting run over a second time or trampled by a mob on a busy sidewalk. Like, wave your arms around and yell at people to give them a decent perimeter, or if they're laying on the road start directing traffic so they don't get run over.

And if they're seriously injured, yeah, be a friendly stranger for a few minutes and talk to them about whatever BS that takes their mind off of it until the paramedics arrive.

You can't use the phrase "safe space" and not expect people to take it ironically.

>>> "The data came from emergency medical services providers, who fill out a form after each ambulance call. The form includes an indication of what type of help, if any, patients received from bystanders before medical staff arrived on the scene."

Rock solid study methodology. No possible sources of error in data gathering. Results can be readily generalized to the entire U.S. population and probably world population.

I smell a Nobel Prize for these Cornell sociologists (or at least something smells about this study)

It would be 'help' salient to the emergency staff at the hospital. Most of us are not walking around with oxygen tanks.

Exactly. The form serves a purpose; understand the purpose and one understands the answers recorded. Also, they won't speculate to anything they didn't observe upon arrival.

This confirms prior research social psych research on group behavior...everyone looks at everyone else to see if they respond, and if no one does, no one responds.

Anyone remember the study of someone who was assaulted and was screaming for help and no one in the apartments above responded with assistance.

That was Kitty Genovese, but while the very core of the story is true, most of the facts are exaggerated urban legend.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Kitty_Genovese

Is the core of the story even true? Didn't several people call 911, one person came down and ran the attacker off? Only when she crawled away to where no one could see her was the guy able to finish her off.

Called the police. No 911 back in 1964. IIRC retrospectives done 12 years ago and relating meticulously the sequence of events, the whole thrust of the commentary on the case proved to be wrong.

Dan,

There have been many experimental social psych behavioral studies replicating these results, whether or not Genovese facts were urban legend. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/not-just-bystander/201403/the-1964-kitty-genovese-tragedy-what-have-we-learned

People amaze me. I'm the kind of guy when a bunch of hoodlums start making lots of noise at 3am like there's going to be a fight, makes a cup of tea, goes outside and sits on my front porch. But I don't remember ever being anything other than the only person to do so. Never saw a serious escalation.

But one time in a small town in China I was with Dutch guy, and a bunch of people were setting attack dogs to basically torture to death a smaller dog. I guess the notion in China is that if the dog is your property you can do whatever you want. I didn't actually think it was wise to intervene because it was a fairly tense environment. But the Dutch guy marched into the square and tried to put a stop to things. Well, the end of the story is that we left town damn fast ... but the intervention had also caused some sympathetic locals to stir up some sympathy and I'd like to think that they put a stop to it.

I stumbled in a crosswalk in downtown DC in the middle of the day, 18th and K. My own carelessness. I laid on the pavement stunned, but OK. With people all around I waited -- maybe wanting some sympathy -- for anyone -- someone -- to ask, "Are you OK?" Maybe because I'm older -- someone must care, right?. Nothing. After 10 seconds I pulled my self together and got up.

People helped Joan above. Are you young or old? I recommend being a kindly old white woman. That way everyone feels at ease helping you.

Guessing she doesn't live in DC. As mentioned early in the thread, diversity is incredibly toxic to this kind of aid.

You guess wrong. I now live in one of most diverse cities in the U.S. ( 1/4 white, 1/4 black, 1/4 Hispanic, 1/4 Asians) but Untlil a 2 yeas ago I lived in a diverse neighborhood in DC. You are probaby wrong about a lot of other things about cities.

I live near DC. One January day I saw a guy - 60 or so, cheap overcoat and obviously alone in the world, with a couple ratty plastic bags in his hands - stumble to the ground in a crosswalk at Bailey's Crossroads - he was apparently in a pathetic hurry to get to the other side - the light was green for the oncoming traffic but there was a lull and I guess he did not have much patience (this was near the site of Lincoln's most famous review of the troops in the first months of the war, now a typical strip mall cheap apartment thoroughfare, although with some pretty good Mid-Atlantic gardening along the way). I was with two friends. I said to my friends, this isn't good, you think he is going to get up, they said, probably. Two or three seconds went by, he didn't get up, I walked into the crosswalk and got on my knees and put my arms around him and picked him up and put him on his feet. I helped him shuffle to the other side, he said a typically vague homeless dude thanks, and went on his way. I caught some weird pneumonia/meningitis bug from him, and was sick for a day or two, but even knowing that now I couldn't have left him lying there. Steve, I would not have let you lie there that day. Sorry the sad sacks at 18th and K were so heartless.

Here in Baltimore I watched in shock as a young black guy ran out into the road without checking traffic and was immediately struck by the car in front of me. We had just just started up from a red light and I guess the guy had assumed the light was still red-- and that fact may have saved his life as well as the car that struck him was just starting to accelerate. Several people, myself included, and all of us is white, stopped to help. The awkward thing was that I really had no idea what to do-- I am not medically trained. As the guy regained consciousness he tried to get up and we had to hold him down, yet I was afraid to manhandle him lest I exacerbate his injuries. I was very glad when the EMTs arrived. Not knowing what to do (other than calling 911), and being afraid of doing the wrong thing may be part of what's at work here.

During rush hour in Chicago, a woman jumped off the 53' high Madison St. bridge into the Chicago River. Many hundreds of people saw her fall and splash around in the cold water, but I may have been the only one who did something. I was fairly far away and had to sprint for about two minutes to get to the life saver ring next to the Chicago Opera House, shouting to gawkers to call 911 on their cellphones as I ran. A man helpfully gave me his umbrella to break the glass over the life saver, but he was perhaps the first person to spontaneously help besides me. I tied the rope to the railing and dropped the life ring to the woman, making sure not to hit her on the head with it. She grabbed it and hung on until a CPD boat arrived in about ten minutes.

Good for you. I saved a couple of fellows from drowning in the North Sea once. But they were white which presumably makes me a racist. I was probably being a genderist too.

I stood between a man and a woman he was screaming at once. Both white though. Not good enough.

Cities are weird.

Steve and D.R.M. and Derek, those are good anecdotes. I once was on the LIRR at about one in the morning and some sad young drunk loserish guy (early 30s) was trying the dodge of going fifteen dollars worth of stations onto Long Island with a five dollar ticket. I guess his home was closer to Remsenburg or Montauk than Jamaica or Huntington. Anyway, him and the union member LIRR conductor (they would punch your ticket every thirty miles or so) got in a disagreement and it appeared that the crabby conductor was determined to shove him off the train at the next station. It was a cold night and the drunk guy seemed to me like one of the salvageable drunks that those of us who care about others so often come across in our daily lives ... Well he was salvageable, more or less, if he didn't freeze to death that night - it wasn't all that cold (just an average Long Island January night) but I could easily see him getting a little bit of drunkenly imagined frostbite and wandering into traffic or lazily lying down in a wet ditch with an inch or two too much of water under the ice. Anyway, I told the conductor I would give him the "five or ten dollars the little guy needs" (the drunk - I hesitate to call him that, he is probably a teetotaling grandpa now - was not little, I was just being condescending to the conductor, who was littler than the drunk and looked like the older brother of a guy who made fun of my high school date once - and the conductor could not know if I was calling Mr. Gin or Mr. Conductor the "little guy" - I believe that is now called a "neg" in a different context - but I digress). I did not and do not remember the rest of the story as it unrolled that night - five or ten bucks was nothing to me, even in the early 80s - but a few weeks later I got an exquisitely well handwritten note with a ten dollar bill in it. Apparently, a detail I had forgotten, I gave the "drunk" my address!! (I would never do that now.) Also, I used to live in one or two very violent cities, and three or four times, having heard gunfire, I stepped closer to the gunfire in a protective move for the persons I was with that day. Never thought about it, and not that it makes a difference, but the guy on the train could easily have been Hispanic - years later I became familiar with the works of a a poet who looks like him, the very Lusitanian looking Spanish romantic poet G. Becquer (nineteenth century Spanish, sort of like a less fortunate and less amazing version of Rosalia Castro or Juan Ramon Jimenez , but with lots of passion nonetheless). Never saved a drowning person, though. (I realize this is not an exciting story so I tried to put some unusual word-combinations in it).

I'm not sure what I'd do. I'm sure I'd at least hesitate due to uncertainty around legal results if I acted inappropriately.

A friend told me of a doctor friend who said he's never helping in a roadside medical emergency again. Said he'd come upon car accidents 4 times and gave assistance prior to Ambulance showing up each time. The doctor indicated in each case he was sued for his efforts - with the last case supposedly dismissed when judge finally threw it out after determining the injured person would be dead had the doctor not performed tracheotomy at scene.

I have helped when I could, and have witnessed ad hoc rescues. Possibly one factor is that people know when they are in the city, in EMT range, and when they are out of range.

Probably the more medical the emergency, the more people think it is for specialists.

I pulled a woman from a river, I am really glad she was breathing, coherent.

Many jurisdictions have laws to protect doctors and trained personnel from liability when they provide emergency services outside their scope of employment. These Good Samaritan Laws usually don't apply to lay people.

The Samaritan Laws don't necessarily keep you from being sued.

It's a dangerous business, going out your door. There's no know who might sue you.

Exactly. No point making it worse.

They do in Virginia.

No, they don't. Such *absolute* legal immunity is unconstitutional. Provide citations for such a bold claim.

'Provide citations for such a bold claim.'

See below for the link, but here is what a Virginia personal injury lawyer wrote regarding birth and Virginia's Good Samaritan law - 'The statute also states that if a citizen helps deliver a baby without having given care or known anyone who has given her care, is not liable for an injury that occurs during the birth.' Of course, there remains the point that one's actions must be reasonable - putting a woman in labor into a freezer locker for a half hour against her will to help with the onset of her labor pains would certainly allow an attorney to have grounds for a suit, to make up another absurd scenario.

Such laws are intended to prevent exactly the sort of legal response which prompts someone to file suit after being pulled, while unconscious, from a burning vehicle. And no, the idea that 'Such *absolute* legal immunity is unconstitutional' is simply wrong. To put it differently - it is no problem to for a legislature to declare legal actions to be legal, and thus not subject to suit based on their legality. And in the same sense as the stubbed toe example below illustrates an example that such a law would not cover, the primary problem with the pregnant woman example is 'against her will.'

If you mean that Good Samaritan laws do not grant blanket immunity to any action that comes to mind to anyone who declares themself to be a Good Samaritan to defend their actions, you are correct, of course.

But you can countersue and then receive sanctions. Also if you are resourceful enough you can try and get the attorney disbarred if they use one.

If you Google for examples, you'll see that the typical Good Samaritan law bars negligence claims, but not gross negligence claims. In practice, this is very little protection.

'but not gross negligence claims'

Sure, one can always try to sue. Suit could also be brought regarding some of the comments here - without any hope of success, obviously, but still, one can always find a lawyer willing to take money to make you look like a fool.

Winning a judgement is only one of several ways of winning a lawsuit. Pure annoyance and cost considerations can get you a settlement. This works well when it comes to rich corporations. I see no reason it will not work (to some extent) when it comes to rich doctors and people in general.

Obviously, the extent may differ drastically, but why take the additional risk?

'I see no reason it will not work (to some extent) when it comes to rich doctors and people in general.'

Except that Virginia's Good Samaritan law specifically excludes any actions taken by a medical professional in terms of damages - 'A physician giving aid without compensation and in good faith in an emergency is not liable for damages.' Again, from http://www.hsinjurylaw.com/library/virginia-and-the-good-samaritan-law-an-overview.cfm - from Randy E. Appleton, a 'Virginia Beach & Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer' who is basically telling potential sources of revenue that he really won't take their money in the vast majority of Virginia Good Samaritan cases, and explaining why that is.

Admittedly, one can construct scenarios - such as one where the Good Samaritan helps a person with a stubbed toe by packing the injured person into a car, then speeding at 60mph in a school zone during school hours and hitting a school bus before reaching an emergency room - where the such an attorney might see a reasonable case, starting with the reality that a stubbed toe is never defined as an 'emergency.'

People in general (unless they are in an insured situation) do not have deep enough pockets to make such suits worthwhile, and lawyers, who will only collect on contingency, will be quite cool to the idea since they will have to do a lot of work for very little reward-- very different from the situation with a large corporation or a well-insured doctor.

No Good Samritan law?

Pshrnk, That's exactly why I think I will hesitate. Even the laws didn't keep him from being sued.

I'm not sure when or in which state the events occurred in. I just now pulled up description of the law for the state I currently live in and it sounds like if I do help and my actions result in exacerbating an injury I might have liability. I don't understand the legal interpretations of the language beyond that.

Let me help you out. You do retain legal liability, as the Constitution requires due process.

Again, you seem to be misinterpreting the document. There is no liability. The plaintiff is entitled to due process under the rules of civil procedure, but summary judgement against the plaintiff and imposition of sanctions against the plaintiff fully satisfies due process.

Four for four. I guess I'm fascinated to know, where in the interactions between the injured party, the insurance companies, and legal counsel, the idea of suing the doctor came about.

Sorry, I don't know any more about why he was sued beyond what is stated. I didn't get the impression that he lost any of them, just that he ended up being sued and the last one at least went before a judge. My friend simply told me about it as a cautionary tale.

Your doctor friend should have complied by the law all along. Then he wouldn't have gotten sued to begin with.

So he had time to give assistance and take off before the Ambulance arrived. It's not like it doesn't have a siren to give you a two minute warning.

Were there any racial differences in the general willingness to render aid?

If they are it will probably be politically correct not to publish them.

Presumed outcome noted.

"Don’t count on strangers in a medical emergency"

So now this blog uses National Enquirer type headlines to attract eyeballs.

"Only 2.5 percent of people, or 1 in 39"

2.5% is 1 in 40. What else can't we trust?

What is the relationship between assisting strangers and the level of statism in a country?

Does an increased expectation of the state to take care of basic needs lead to fewer examples of individual virtue? I think it applies to charity so perhaps here too.

Consider the country of my birth - England. Sacrifice without complaint or expectation of reward was the norm during the war. In the 1950s when Lee Kuan Yew studied at Cambridge he was shocked that daily newspapers were stacked on the street and people voluntarily paid into an unmanned cash tin.

And today? The people who are paid to take risks for others - police and firemen - have rules limiting what they will do, to the extent of watching people drown in shallow ponds and burn in buildings while forcibly and on pain of arrest preventing bystanders attempting rescues.

So the rise of statism not only diminishes virtue, it makes it illegal.

This website - http://tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations might tell you.

Seriously, probably not much of a correlation. We have a freer market system (certainly internationally) than we did when you were a nipper and more monetization of labour. Yet we wouldn't think that has much of a connection with a decrease in helpful behaviour.

Apparently if there are a lot of people around, no matter that people actually care, many will easily conclude "there are lots of people around, I'm busy, and someone else will take up the slack."

But if there are very few people around, you cannot count on such things, so the personal responsibility to intervene is much higher.

Incidentally, the other day there was a student charging down the hallway and he tripped and fell into a corner of a square pillar at full speed. He was about 10 feet in front of me. By the time 5 seconds or so had passed and I'd determined that I might have to take off my shirt to stem the blood, another student was present with a small pack of tissues (very common in China for people to carry a small pack of tissues in their pocket). Well, within those 5 seconds, there was about a 10cm round pool of blood on the ground.

With some basic first aid training, I knew that I would have to press firmly to stem the blood. I traced up his forehead into his head to find the open wound, pressed the entire pack of tissues into his head, and viced his head from both sides extremely firmly to stem the bleeding. The Chinese teacher who was there? Fiddling around on his phone from the first moment. I mean, he was pretty quick to get his phone out, but it was time for action, not a phone. Well, we got a chair and sat down the student and stopped him from hyperventilating while people fiddled around with their phones trying to decide if they should called anyone. By then I was late for class and the same Chinese teacher who was there at first clearly didn't have a class to teach, so I asked him to take over. He softly put two fingers to the tissue, just enough to barely hold it in place, and I had to admonish him that he had to use the palm of his hand and vice the head to keep enough pressure on.

More people should have basic first aid training. I'm stunned that it is not required for teachers, who on any given day will be the presumed person of authority around dozens or hundreds of people, until any medical professional may arrive.

They could use the first aid app on their phone.

Calling 911 promptly can be lifesaving too, and you can get advice over the phone in some situations. An acquaintance of mine fell off a fifth story balcony two years ago. He owes his life to the fact that this happened in the middle of the day of and people who saw him hit the pavement called 911 at once so EMTs (and an med-copter) got there quickly and got him to the U of MD hospital's shock trauma unit where they were able to halt the internal bleeding before he hemorrhaged to death-- though it was a very near thing.

You a racist. Seriously, when some is hurt people will help. Problem is it may not be the people who know the most about first aid.

People aren't necessarily so knowledgeable on how to help people. Most codes of practice recommend *not* helping people in the wrong way (moving them, etc.).

A couple different times I've seen a homeless person have some sort of "attack" on the street. I always call 911 and stay around until the paras arrive, but I don't attempt to intervene, as I'm afraid they're having some sort of drug-induced attack and will attack me. (Both times they were conscious but flailing about.)

"First study"? Has no one read "Influence" by Cialdini? Seriously?

Wait a minute. If there were churches, etc. then people would not be strangers.

A friend witnessed a collusion between a car and a motorcycle and the driver of the motorcycle was seriously injured . He called for an ambulance and even accompanied the man to the hospital and waited till his family arrived ( the guy had his house number on his business card.) The doctors told the family that my friend saved the life of the injured man. The outcome: the family members held my friend responsible! He got out of the mess but it was a long nightmare. He resolved never again to be a good Samaritan

There are underlying societal issues here, with deep rooted problems that need addressed at a higher level. The complexities of helping someone, you’re responsible for everything that goes wrong, but you get no reward. And if you don't help, there is a moral issue or you would just go with plausible deniability. I have been a medical professional for decades and dealt with many issues which could have went either way, your decision to intervene could mean life or death for the other person. I no longer wish to work in A&E and happily prescribe remotely for an online doctor service and play golf away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Comments for this post are closed