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Old March 5 2013, 09:02 PM   #29
Olive, the Other Reindeer
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Re: 911 Operater Pleads With Nursing Home Nurse to Save a Life

Excerpted from Wiki:

In the common law of most anglosphere countries, there is no general duty to come to the rescue of another. Generally, a person cannot be held liable for doing nothing while another person is in peril. However, such a duty may arise in two situations:
  • A duty to rescue arises where a person creates a hazardous situation. If another person then falls into peril because of this hazardous situation, the creator of the hazard – who may not necessarily have been a negligent tortfeasor – has a duty to rescue the individual in peril.
  • Such a duty also arises where a "special relationship" exists. For example:
    • Emergency workers (firefighters, emergency medical technicians, etc.) have a general duty to rescue the public within the scope of their employment. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in Warren v. DC that the police have no duty to protect any citizen not in custody, and cannot be sued for their failure to protect.
    • Parents have a duty to rescue their minor children. This duty also applies to those acting in loco parentis, such as schools or babysitters.
    • Common carriers have a duty to rescue their patrons.
    • Employers have an obligation to rescue employees, under an implied contract theory.
    • Property owners have a duty to rescue invitees but not trespassers from all dangers on the property.
    • Spouses have a duty to rescue each other in all U.S. jurisdictions.
    • In the United States, as of 2009 ten states had laws on the books requiring that people at least notify law enforcement of and/or seek aid for strangers in peril under certain conditions . . . These laws are also referred to as Good Samaritan laws, despite their difference from laws of the same name that protect individuals that try to help another person. These laws are rarely applied, and are generally ignored by citizens and lawmakers.
Personally, I'm of the opinion that, except in specific circumstances that create a duty of care (as per the examples above), no one should be legally obligated to help a person in distress. Acting out of common decency and humanity isn't something that can be or should be legislated. You can educate people but you can't compel them to help one another, any more than you can force people to love one another.
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