The Last Workout
Q: Close to the racquetball courts, my father collapsed. A personal trainer named Tommy and a defibrillator rushed to his side. Tommy found that Dad still was breathing and had a pulse. Eyes open and color normal. Although Tommy was certified to operate the defibrillator and to administer CPR, he did neither.
Meanwhile, an announcement had been broadcast: a summons for anyone with medical training. Two club members – a doctor and a medical student – appeared. They commenced CPR. When the ambulance arrived, its personnel gave shocks with the defibrillator. But all this was too late: my father never revived.
A: In New York, the Legislature has required health clubs to make defibrillators available and to encourage their use in medical emergencies. However, it has declined to impose liability on health clubs and their employees for such failures, if any, as Tommy’s.
The reasoning appears to be that a law mandating the presence of defibrillators and trained individuals (such as Tommy) is easy to obey and enforce. However, a duty actually to use the defibrillator and to engage in CPR would engender a whole new field of tort litigation – saddling health clubs with new costs and generating uncertainty.
In New York, a health club has only a limited duty to someone who seems to be having a coronary incident. Be sure to tell every detail to your attorney. Only a full set of information can give your attorney a full chance to make this case a winner.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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