New act will protect people who use automated defibrillators (09/05/20)

NB 698

May 20, 2009

FREDERICTION (CNB) - New Brunswickers who volunteer to use an automated defibrillator machine to try to save a person's life will be protected under the new Automated Defibrillator Act. Health Minister Michael Murphy introduced the act in the legislature today.

"This act provides liability protection to ordinary New Brunswickers who exercise their natural inclination to help others in medical emergencies," said Murphy. "Any volunteer acting in good faith would be protected from damages from acting or failing to act while using an automated defibrillator, providing that the damages were not caused by gross negligence."

To survive a cardiac incident, early intervention is critical. A person experiencing a heart attack can be saved by someone operating an automated defibrillator machine. These machines quickly monitor the heart, automatically determine if an electrical impulse should be delivered, and automatically charge and deliver that impulse.

"These devices are designed so that any individual who can read and follow clear directions can save a life," said Murphy.

The device can save a life in a situation where manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or waiting for paramedics to arrive is less effective. The survival rate for an out-of-hospital, sudden cardiac incident is five per cent when there is no public access to a defibrillator, and 50 per cent or more when the device is available.

The New Brunswick Heart and Stroke Foundation is working on an initiative to put automated external defibrillators in more public places for emergency use when someone has a heart attack. This act will facilitate the foundation's efforts to encourage the use of these devices when they are needed.


MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Cumby, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522.