Theodore J. Clark, MD
In deciding whether or not to provide care in an emergency—such as those discussed in the article “On Call at 30,000 Feet” (AAOS Now, September 2013)—physicians will inevitably take into account concerns about potential liability. Although the Aviation Medical Assistance Act “and other Good Samaritan laws” (including those covered in this issue’s article on “Liability and Good Samaritan Laws,” page 34) provide some protection, the U.S. volunteer system still has unaddressed gaps, most notably in the event of a wide-scale disaster.
This is why all healthcare providers should support HR 1733, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act. This law, if enacted, would offer reassurance concerning potential medical professional liability claims for physicians who wish to provide assistance when a major emergency arises.