AEDs are popping up in more offices and public spaces, and because of this, more people are curious about them. AEDs are used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. These sophisticated, easy-to-use devices can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
While this is a great way to help save a life in an emergency, it does beg the question of where liability lands if an AED in a county building is used incorrectly. The last thing anyone wants is to have the device used incorrectly and face a lawsuit.
Fortunately, county liability would be limited. Utah Code Section 78B-4-501(2) states:
A person who renders emergency care at or near the scene of, or during, an emergency, gratuitously and in good faith, is not libel for any civil damages or penalties as a result of any set to omission by the person rendering the emergency care, unless the person is grossly negligent or caused the emergency.
Additionally, county liability would be further limited by other governmental immunities.
When it comes to the county itself, they are best served by having their employees trained in the use and operation of AEDs. Fortunately, most fire departments will provide this training at no charge.
Additional information on the Good Samaritan Law can be found here.