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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 01/13/99
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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New Ohio Law Protects Good Samaritans

CincinnatióMichael Sayre, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, and medical director of the Cincinnati Fire Division, is pleased with the passage of Ohio House Bill # 717 to provide civil and criminal immunity for anyone using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to resuscitate a person in an emergency situation. The "good Samaritan" law permits anyone to use an AED to help a person in cardiac arrest.

Sayre says the device interprets the heartís rhythm; and if needed, it delivers an electrical shock to the heart. The heart can then resume pumping the blood effectively. Emergency medical technicians, physicians, and registered or licensed practical nurses who have obtained appropriate training on how to perform automated external defibrillation and successfully completed a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) have already been using the device to save lives. "Now, anyone who has access to an AED can use it to save lives," says Sayre. "This law protects good Samaritans from the fear of litigation while encouraging them to become better trained in using AED and cardiopulmonary resuscitation," he says.

Sayre strongly supported the passage of the new Ohio law. He also influenced the Cincinnati community to begin supplying Cincinnati police and fire units with the lifesaving device and AED training since 1996. "Heart disease is still the number one killer of Americans, but more widespread use of the automated external defibrillators will increase the chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest," says Sayre. The new Ohio law went into effect on December 21, 1998.

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