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Promotion of 'good Samaritan law' good for healthy social environment

By WANG YIQING | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-14 07:22

The Shenyang Intermediate People's Court recently ruled that a well-meaning drugstore owner was not liable for accidentally breaking a senior citizen's ribs while giving her cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The case is important as it demonstrates how a "good Samaritan law" can protect first aid givers. Not surprisingly, netizens have hailed the verdict.

On Sept 7, 2017, a 70-year-old woman surnamed Qi fainted at a drugstore in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province. Since he couldn't feel the woman's pulse, drugstore owner Sun Xiaobo, who holds a medical license, gave her CPR before an ambulance arrived.

The timely action saved Qi's life but left her with 12 broken ribs for which she sued Sun, seeking damages for her medical expenses.

It is not uncommon to see rib fractures during CPR, as vigorous cardiac compression is required to help a patient regain his/her heartbeat.

Technically, the drugstore owner did nothing wrong; according to the first aid principle, the focus should be on saving the life of a patient.

The lawsuit against Sun made many assume that the old adage, no good deeds go unpunished, holds true. No wonder many people hesitate to help those in trouble for fear of landing in trouble in the process.

Fortunately, the court ruling has helped allay such fears. After consulting medical experts, the court ruled that the drugstore owner's efforts were not in violation of medical rules and he bears no liability. The ruling promotes the healthy social atmosphere of helping people in need.

The case also shows the positive social effects of the Chinese version of a "good Samaritan law".

Article 184 of the general principles of the Civil Law, approved by the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, on March 15, 2017, stipulates that rescuers bear no civil liability if they cause damage to those being rescued because of their voluntary emergency rescue actions.

This exemption encourages people to extend a helping hand to others during an emergency, and is conducive to promoting social justice and creating a healthy social environment.

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