Important First Aid ...
Tue, 4 Oct 1994 11:06:39 EDT
Since I'm not an attorney, I'll respond to this as a First Aid MB Counsellor
and a former EMT-A. In the state of New Jersey, the "Good Samaritan Act"
covers those persons who perform to the best of their ability, and act in
good faith, within the scope of their training/certification. Since neither
the rank requirements nor the First Aid MB are considered valid
"certifications" by the state, boys providing first aid in good faith would
merely be considered "Good Samaritans" and could not be found guilty of
negligence. In court, this would probably come down to one of those "What
would any prudent person do in the same situation?" questions. Since, if they
act in good faith, there is no possibility of negligence on the part of the
provider, negligence could not be carried on to the trainer(this is only my
opinion, however). If a boy acts outside the scope of his training, he could
be found personally negligent, but not the trainer since the boy would have
exceeded his training.
As far as I am concerned, any leader who lets a boy pass a first aid
requirement in any way less than called for is taking her/his life, VERY
LITERALLY, into their own hands. If an adult gets injured/ill at a Scouting
function, the most likely people to render aid are the scouts. I have never
signed a First Aid MB card unless I felt fully confident that I would allow
the boy to use his skills to save MY OWN life. IMHO, any instructor not using
this criteria is doing a disservice to both the scouts and the public at
Personally, I think this system is much better than if we had some kind of
recognized certification procedure. This would certainly give us the
liability problems brought up here, legally and morally. We should leave
certification to those with the proper systems in place to do so - the
American Red Cross, State Departments of Health, the American Medical
Association, etc. We teach first aid, which is by definition "immediate
emergency medical care provided until Professional help can arrive." As long
as these boys can control a life threatening situation, and call 911, we have
done our job. Let's leave the professional care to the professionals.
I can't help but wonder how this applies to BSA Lifeguards and Aquatics
Instructor BSA's (actually preferred over Red Cross certification in NJ). As
recognized certifications, I could see liability becoming a real issue with
Jim Miller, Jr.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City