News » Congressman Olson Introduces Bill To Save Lives & Protect Good Samaritans

Congressman Olson Introduces Bill To Save Lives & Protect Good Samaritans

The Cheney Cardiovascular Institute supports and applauds Congressman Olson's efforts

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) today introduced legislation to save lives and protect citizens who use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in emergencies.  AEDs are used to assist victims of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCA). Each year almost 300,000 Americans suffer from SCA's and most die as a result. Quick deployment of an AED can save lives. Olson’s bill, the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2011, H.R. 3511, will establish a uniform base of liability protection for businesses that acquire AEDs and the good Samaritans who use them.

"Where AEDs are available, their quick use has proved to save lives," Olson said. "No one should die because a potential good samaritan fears being sued. This common sense legislation provides peace of mind for good samaritans. By removing the threat of unnecessary lawsuits, this bill will encourage greater deployment of AEDs in public and private establishments.  More AEDs will mean less lag time in using defibrillation – reducing the response time to even five minutes could save an additional 36,000 lives per year."

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of Medicine at the GW Medical Center and Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at GW Hospital said, “Almost 1,000 Americans die each day from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The mixed set of existing state laws governing the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) has led to concern about liability risk and has impeded the dissemination of this life-saving technology. The Cardiac Arrest Survival Act insures that those who acquire an AED or the good samaritans who use an AED are protected from liability. This law will lead to greater deployment of AEDs and potentially thousands of lives saved.”

AED benefits:

  • Every minute of delay in receiving defibrillation results in a 7 - 10% decline in survival.
  • Average response rate from a 911 call is < 7 minutes, too late for many patients. 
  • Quick deployment of an AED is the best key to survival.

Individual state requirements:

  • Thirty-five states require registration of AEDs with local authorities.
  • Twenty-six states & D.C. require oversight of an AED program by a licensed physician.
  •  Seven states still prohibit use by untrained operators.

With 20% of SCA events occurring in public places, 60,000 people a year stand to benefit from wider AED access. Reducing lag time in defibrillation deployment to even five minutes could increase survival rates up to 60% - saving an additional 36,000 lives per year. State laws differ dramatically on who is eligible for immunity. In some states, only trained AED users are protected from liability. The Olson 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 any liability protections that don’t already exist.