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Universal rules needed for medics responding to calls for help in public

Armen Hareyan's picture

Universal rules are needed for doctors playing the "Good Samaritan" to members of the public who fall ill outside hospital, says an experienced medic.

Dr Rubin is a paediatrician by training, who has responded to some two dozen pleas over the past 25 years to help a member of the public who sustained injuries or became critically ill.

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Doctors may not always be suitably qualified to take on all manner of public emergencies, he suggests. But no one ever calls out: "Is there a paramedic in the house?" he says.

Many specialists are not used to dealing with the kinds of emergencies that occur on the street. A person in a road traffic collision would be better served by a lifeguard than a dermatologist long out of basic training, for example

Aside from the possibility of mouth to mouth resuscitation, which, research shows, deters some doctors from responding to calls for medical assistance in public places, legal implications increasingly play a part in their discomfort at getting involved, he suggests.