Not So Good, Samaritan

If you come to California, you may want to think twice about leaping in to assist someone who appears to have been in an accident, or suffered injury of some kind.  

The California Supreme Court ruled that non-professionals (doctors, nurses, etc.) who assist someone at the scene of an accident could be held civilly liable for any injuries that are determined to have resulted from their well-intentioned but untrained efforts.  The case in question regarded a woman who was in a car accident after a night of drinking (she wasn’t the driver).  Apparently in the accident her spine was injured.  A well-intentioned co-worker following in the car behind saw smoke and leaking fluid from the vehicle, and worked to get her co-worker out of the car, fearing fire or explosion.  She is now being sued by the woman, whose doctors indicate that the injury sustained to her spine in the accident was increased by her co-workers yanking her out of the wreckage like “a rag doll”, so that the woman now has permanent spinal damage.
I find this curious for several reasons.  Firstly, it’s a continuation of the trend in the last century to rely more and more on ‘experts’ to do things, and excusing – or insisting that – others do not get involved unless they are an ‘expert’.  Considering the sweeping promises of humanism to promote equality and diversity and all manner of wonderful things (which it hasn’t, and won’t), these steps seem inherently contrary to that philosophy.  We divest ourselves of kings and emperors, only to replace them with ‘experts’.  And now the Common Man can be held financially liable for attempting to help someone unless they’re a qualified ‘expert’.
The net effect seems to be that people will be less willing to expose themselves to potential financial repercussions for helping someone out.  After all, if a co-worker can (and does) sue someone they know and work with for damages, how much more inclined might someone be to sue a total stranger?  Will we have a new set of legal documents for people to sign when their car is on fire, before someone pulls them to safety?  
This is another example of our insistence on a risk-free, predictable and controllable world.  There is no room for accidents, for well-intentioned but uninformed injuries.  All damages must be compensated for.  There must always be someone else to point the finger at, to shift responsibility to.  We don’t suffer injuries as a result of our poor decisions (such as riding home drunk, with a drunk driver [my assumption only on this]).   We don’t suffer as a result of a world that is broken by sin, that is maddening unpredictable, that finds us at odds with the natural world around us, the people around us, our own selves, and the God who created us.  Rather, we suffer as a result of someone else doing something wrong.  The driver.  The well-intentioned Samaritan.  These people were wrong, and if they had just let us be, or done what they were supposed to, everything would be fine.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works.  Which might be what more people will find out now, when people don’t rush to pull them out of the surf when a wave sweeps them off a jetty.  Or when people don’t risk their own lives to pull them out of a burning building.  Or when they bleed to death because people were too afraid to render improper medical assistance to try and stem the flow of blood from the knife or gunshot wound.  
There aren’t enough experts to save everyone, though I would imagine that, logically, this will be the next demand.  If only the experts are qualified to take action, then we must have more experts.  And those experts MUST render aid if it is even remotely possible.  That means the doctor that drives by the scene of a recent accident, but who assumes the injuries aren’t severe, might be held responsible for not rendering the aid he was legally permitted (or required to).  GPS capabilities with cell phones and other electronic devices (including cars) will make this an easy thing to determine.  All of which is likely to reduce the number of experts, as fewer people decide they want to risk their lives and livelihood on the whims of a society that also refuses to compensate them for being Superman.  
It’s interesting to see how many holes we’ll shoot in our feet before we, as a society, have to sit down and start rethinking things.

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