Breaking Ribs while giving CPR

#1
I had to perform CPR on an elderly bloke a couple of days ago, I snapped 2 ribs on the first compression and another 1 on the next compression. When the Medics arrived I told them I had broken 3 ribs on the bloke, they said no problems and asked me to carry on for a minute while they got their magic kit set up.

Today I've been visited by 2 relatives of the bloke (he died in hospital)who heard what I said to the Medic and are saying that if I hadn't assaulted him and broke his ribs he would still be alive. I feel that they are looking for compensation.

As the Law stands, have I " assaulted " the bloke by doing CPR ?

Any advice appreciated.
 
#2
I have it on good authority that no judge will prosecute a first-aider who injures a casualty whilst attempting CPR.
 
#5
Ribs normally break on CPR, know x2 1st aiders that have done exactlly the same as you. Both died but not attributed to broken ribs (they were toast regardless).
Unless you were incompetent in your approach or were setting out to injure him no worries, however they relatives are sad and angry at their loss so expect them to lash out.
 
#6
Acting as a first aider, you were acting in the best interests of the casualty, and there is a law to protect you in this case. Can't exactly what it is off the top of my head. Will have a look through my work protocols for the exact wording.
 
#7
As a side the Law tend to look at claims for assault whilst helping with 1st aid with a very dim view, it is counter productive to the whole point of 1st aid.

P.s. did you get his wallet and gold teeth whilst he was down?:)
 
#8
Thanks for the replies, I hope that they'll see sense in a few days time, but the family are, how can I put it, chav's of the lowest order. They had probably phoned a "No Win, No Fee" company before the guy got to Hospital.
 
#10
I'd find their place of residence and put petrol through the letter box

Human beings are cnuts and the different stages of grief can make them do and say stupid shit.

**** em
 
#12
If you did it as part of you job then competance and training will be brought into question should the broken ribs have caused death.

However off the top of my head I think it goes along the lines of If you did nothing would he have died anyway? remember as a first aider you job is to try to keep the casualty alive until professional service arrives.

Don't worry about it you can not be done for assault as it is assumed the casualty has given concent for you to try and save thier lives :)
 
#13
Thanks for the replies, I hope that they'll see sense in a few days time, but the family are, how can I put it, chav's of the lowest order. They had probably phoned a "No Win, No Fee" company before the guy got to Hospital.
I agree with the other posts and would add that few folk are brought back successfully from first aider CPR.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
As others have said, no dramas. I was told once that if you dont break ribs, you are not doing it right...
 
#15
Whilst on the annual Arnhem pilgrimage a few years back the same thing happened to a mate of mine ( ex 2Para and 23 PFA) who gave CPR to an elderly patient who collapsed on the quayside by the John Frost bridge. He said that he broke 2 ribs whilst carrying out CPR, but in this case there was a happy ending as the patient lived. As stated in earlier replies it is quite normal to break a rib or 2 specially in the elderly. Chin up mate, you did your best and no judge or jury would convict you!!
 
#16
Its talked about many times that If somebody was to be charged with anything in the courts whilst trying their best to give first aid, then eveybody in future would just walk on by past a person in distress and not get involve for fear off getting into trouble.


edit, The fact that the medics told you to carry on whilst they set their kit up means you must have been doing everything right.
 
#17
Its talked about many times that If somebody was to be charged with anything in the courts whilst trying their best to give first aid, then eveybody in future would just walk on by past a person in distress and not get involve for fear off getting into trouble.
Unfortunatley a lot of people believe this to be the case, hence No Duff's chav's thinking they can get him on assault, I believe that no one has ever been convicted of trying to help someone. Stand by to be corrected with annecdotal evidence to the contrary.
 
#18
Unfortunatley a lot of people believe this to be the case, hence No Duff's chav's thinking they can get him on assault, I believe that no one has ever been convicted of trying to help someone. Stand by to be corrected with annecdotal evidence to the contrary.

Well this was the case in Germany, until everyone said sod it let him die.

But point out to the Chav's would they be charged with negect since they did bugger all !
 
#19
There is a thing called the "samaritan act", which whilst as I understand is not technically a law, is there to provide individuals that have someone elses best interests at heart whilst attempting first aid procedures such as CPR.

I am also certain that no individual has ever been successfully sued, for providing first aid to an injured person as long as it was not found to be negligent to the point of being counter productive. I wouldn't worry about this as you did your best and once the dust has settled, even with the family do not accept this, then they would have a near impossible uphill battle to prove that anything you did was to the detriment of someone who was probably already dead (as previously quoted CPR on it's own is rarely successful).

If it is any consolation, there was an interesting case several years ago in either Bath or Bristol, where there were some voluntary first aiders (maybe St John) were called to a collapsed individual and although they had a defib with them, they refused to deploy it due to an excuse along the lines that no one was qualified to use it. This is one of the few cases that did end up in court and as I understand it, not one of them were actually sued as it could not be proven that anything that they did or did not do was to the detriment of the casualty.

On a plus side, well done for getting stuck in as so many would have just walked by and ignored the incident.
 
#20
The latest advice from the national Resuscitaion Council (yes, there is such a thing!) is that formal CPR training is NOT REQUIRED for someone to legally attempt CPR. Their view (which is respected in law) is that ANY attempt to give CPR is better than none at all. This was promulgated out to CPR training organisations and other interested parties approx 12 months ago.

So in short, the law should protect anyone who attempted to give CPR in order to save life - whether they were formally trained or not.
 

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