In legal terms, a Good Samaritan is anyone who provides assistance to an injured or sick person in an emergency. Generally, if the victim is unconscious or unresponsive, a good Samaritan can help them on the basis of tacit consent. If the person is conscious and can react reasonably, a potential rescuer should first ask permission. Recently, there has been pressure to introduce so-called “bad Samaritan” laws. These laws essentially establish the duty to help those in need. These laws do not necessarily apply to health care providers. Three states – Minnesota, Rhode Island and Vermont – are committed to rescuing people in the event of an emergency. While Hawaii, Washington and Wisconsin have imposed obligations to report crimes to authorities. However, these laws have not been vigorously enforced. In addition, many states require health care providers to report certain types of crime, such as gunshot wounds and child abuse.
Some states require health professionals to stop and provide assistance in an emergency; This only applies if a victim can be helped without putting themselves in danger.  The laws of the Good Samaritan are based on the idea that a consensual agreement promotes good “public policy” to limit the liability of those who voluntarily provide care and relief in emergency situations. Medical emergencies outside the roof are known to be “medical environment” or “clinical environment” to be common.  Thus, we are improved in theory and principle as a society if potential rescuers (i.e. Good Samaritans) are exclusively concerned with helping someone in need, rather than worrying about the possible responsibility associated with supporting their fellow human beings. Unintentional drug overdose is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and Canada, and construction workers are among the most at risk. Overdose witnesses often do not call emergency services because they are afraid of being arrested for drug-related offences. In response, some states and Canada have passed Good Samaritan laws that provide some legal protection to people who call for help. For example, they may provide protection from prosecution for minor drug offences, such as the sale or use of a controlled substance or paraphernalia. However, as with other Good Samaritan laws, overdose protection is not uniform and varies by location. The laws of the Good Samaritan offer limited protection to someone trying to help someone in need.
Common examples could be someone who has chest pain or has fallen and hit their head on the sidewalk. Good Samaritan laws are written to encourage witnesses to intervene in these and other emergency situations without fear of prosecution if their actions inadvertently contribute to a person`s injury or death. This is important because in an emergency, seconds are often numbered and first aid is provided before the ambulance arrives can mean the difference between a living and dying person. Most Good Samaritan laws do not apply to professional health professionals or emergency responders during workplace behavior. However, some extend protection to professional rescuers when they volunteer.  The laws of the Good Samaritan provide protection against “simple negligence.” Simple negligence is the failure to act as a reasonably prudent person. It is the inability to exercise the care that the great mass of humanity usually does in the same or similar circumstances. Research shows that physicians` increasing awareness of these protective measures increases the likelihood of helping. In a study of residents and beneficiaries, about half of respondents reported being present outside the work environment in the event of a medical emergency. The majority said they were reluctant to help due to concerns about exposure to liability outside of the clinical setting. After being educated about the laws of the Good Samaritan, most said they were more likely to help if they understood those laws first. An overwhelming majority demanded that this information be part of their medical training.
They also noted that this additional training would increase their likelihood of offering assistance in these cases.  There are a variety of situations and places where a good Samaritan might be needed. The most common locations are sporting and entertainment events (25%), motor vehicle accidents (21%) and wilderness (19%).  For Good Samaritan laws to apply to physicians (and other health care providers), certain conditions must apply. There should be no obligation to treat. For this reason, this protection does not normally apply to doctors on call.  Therefore, any physician with a pre-existing relationship with the patient cannot be considered a Good Samaritan. Another exclusion from almost all state laws is that the doctor or other health care provider providing assistance cannot receive compensation for their treatment.
If someone receives compensation for assisting with emergency care, they can no longer be considered a Good Samaritan and, therefore, the protective measures no longer apply. While the primary intent of the Good Samaritan laws is clear, the application in the real world can be very different. All health care providers should familiarize themselves with the laws and protections specific to their condition. However, as this article shows, there are unique responsibilities and coverages when traveling by plane or to other communities. If you`re not sure about local liability protection, you may just want to act as the Good Samaritan did. It should be noted that countries other than the United States of America (USA) have different laws, opinions, and regulations regarding Good Samaritan scenarios. Most have no legal obligation to treat. Many Western countries recognize the moral duty to stop and provide treatment, rather than being a legal obligation.
 In the United States, all 50 states have Good Samaritan laws. The provisions of these laws vary slightly from state to state.  The criminal system in the United States is unique; Therefore, the concept of liability differs from country to country.  These laws do not protect against “gross negligence” or intentional misconduct. Gross negligence is a deliberate and wilful failure to take reasonable precautions that may cause foreseeable serious injury or damage to persons, property or both. One of the current areas of focus and legislation is the current opioid crisis. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.  The drugs most commonly associated with these overdoses are opioids.
As a result, 40 states and the District of Columbia have enacted Good Samaritan laws specific to this issue. These laws aim to reduce overdoses by encouraging victims and witnesses to call 911 with a certain level of immunity. This immunity may take the form of a non-charge for a drug offence or a reduction of sentence.  For example, in Washington State, a law was passed in 2010 to encourage more people to see a doctor after a suspected overdose. After the law was passed, emergency medical services staff and police considered patient care a top priority over the need to seize and stop drugs.  It is generally accepted that this type of appellant immunity will save more lives, and that the enactment of other targeted legislation such as this one will likely occur in the future. The general principle of most versions of the Good Samaritan Act provides protection from negligence claims to those who provide care without waiting for payment. Good Samaritan laws also promote public order, as few jurisdictions have created a positive obligation for a physician to provide care in the absence of an established relationship with the patient. Each state has its version of the law, and federal laws also exist for individual circumstances. The underlying premise of the Good Samaritan Law goes back to the ancient biblical parable and ultimately leads to the definition of a Good Samaritan as an individual who intervenes to help another individual without prior conception, responsibility, or promise of compensation.  Good Samaritan laws exist in the United States and Canada, but the legislation is not uniform.
Most laws do not apply to health care professionals when they are at work, but provide some protection when responding to emergencies outside the clock. Many Good Samaritan laws, such as those in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, apply to anyone trying to help in an emergency, while others are specific to certain situations. For example, Alabama law only applies to trained lifeguards and public education workers, unless the emergency is cardiac arrest, in which case anyone can participate. In Oklahoma, Good Samaritan protection only covers emergency assistance to bystanders related to CPR or bleeding control. In most cases, the responsibility of a spectator cannot be engaged if he does not provide assistance. However, there are exceptions. The laws of Good Samaritan in Vermont, Minnesota and Rhode Island require viewers to act on a limited scale. In Canada, Quebec residents may also face legal consequences if they do not provide assistance.
However, this does not mean putting yourself in danger, such as entering a burning building or moving a person who has fallen and may have injured their neck – in either case, it is best to wait for rescue personnel. In more common emergencies, such as helping someone who is feeling dizzy or confused, helping the Good Samaritan can be as simple as providing a blanket, offering water, or calling 911. For example, a passerby in California who witnessed a car accident and pulled the victim out of the vehicle for fear it would catch fire was then chased by the victim, who was permanently paralyzed. The spectator won the case, but the decision was later overturned by an appeals court, which ruled that she did not provide medical assistance. California has since amended its Good Samaritan Act to include non-medical assistance at the scene of an emergency.