Pointing to the health scare of Damar Hamlin from the Buffalo Bills during a recent NFL game, this week U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin, R-Fla., introduced the “Cardiac Arrest Survival Act.”
The bill “would save lives by establishing a uniform base of liability protection for businesses that acquire automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and the good Samaritans who use them.”
Franklin’s office offered some of the reasons behind the proposal
“AEDs are used to assist victims of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCA). Deployment of AEDs is currently limited due to conflicting state laws that discourage their use through the threat of lawsuits. This liability protection will encourage higher use of AEDs, which increases the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA),” Franklin’s office noted. “According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, roughly 356,000 people of all ages experience EMS-assessed out-of-hospital non-traumatic SCA each year and nine out of 10 victims die. When bystanders intervene immediately by giving CPR, survival rates double or triple. State laws differ dramatically on who is eligible for immunity. In some states, only trained AED users are protected from liability. The Franklin bill does not obligate businesses to acquire an AED and adds no cost to American taxpayers. The bill does not indemnify device manufacturers or create liability protections that don’t already exist.”
On Tuesday, Franklin and U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., the main co-sponsor, weighed in on why they backed the proposal.
“Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the third leading cause of death in America,” said Franklin. “The recent shocking incident involving Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin demonstrated how sudden and critical a cardiac arrest event can be. Quick deployment of an AED saved his life. Conflicting state laws and concerns over lawsuits have prevented wider access to this life-saving technology. We need nationwide uniformity in protections to encourage higher use of AEDs in the event of an emergency. I thank my colleague, Gerry Connolly for joining me in this effort to save lives.”
“Access to AEDs is critical to saving lives during a cardiac emergency,” said Connolly. “As chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors I made it a priority that county buildings and schools deploy this lifesaving technology, and that staff have the knowledge and training to use these tools effectively. This legislation will ensure we don’t allow fear of liability or a patchwork of differing protections across the states to prevent an individual or business from taking all necessary measures to save a life.”
The bill has 10 other co-sponsors including U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Kat Cammack, R-Fla., Neal Dunn, R-Fla., and Darren Soto, D-Fla.
Franklin’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
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