October 4, 2007
By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney
You asked for an overview of Connecticut law on automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).
REQUIRED PLACEMENT-PUBLIC GOLF COURSES
The law requires each public golf course to provide and maintain an AED in a central location. A “public golf course” is one with at least nine holes and a course length of at least 2,750 yards (PA 06-195; CGS § 19a-197c).
TRAINING STANDARDS FOR THE USE OF AEDS
State law provides that a paid or volunteer firefighter or police officer, a member of a ski patrol, lifeguard, conservation officer, patrol officer or special police officer of the Department of Environmental Protection, or emergency medical service personnel who has been trained in the use of AEDs according to American Red Cross or American Heart Association standards is not subject to additional requirements, except recertification requirements, in order to use an AED (CGS § 19a-197b).
PARAMEDICS AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
The law defines “paramedicine” as including “the carrying out of all phases of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation (CGS § 20-206jj).
Also, state regulations require vehicles used by emergency medical technicians and paramedics to contain a defibrillator (Department of Public Health (DPH) Regs., § 19a-179-18(b)(F)(iv)).
“GOOD SAMARITAN” LAW
PA 05-259 (CGS § 52-557b) extends immunity from liability to any person operating an automatic external defibrillator who voluntarily, gratuitously, and not in the ordinary course of his employment or practice, gives emergency or medical assistance to a person in need. It specifies that the person providing assistance is not liable for civil damages for acts or omissions in providing the emergency care that might constitute ordinary negligence. The immunity does not apply to acts or omissions constituting gross, willful, or wanton negligence. The law already provided such liability protection to a person trained in the use of an automatic external defibrillator according to standards of the American Heart Association or American Red Cross.
The law specifies that it should not be construed as exempting paid or volunteer firefighters, police officers, or EMS personnel from completing training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or in the use of an automatic external defibrillator according to the standards of the Red Cross or Heart Association.
An “AED” is defined as a device that (1) is used to administer an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart; (2) contains internal decision-making electronics, microcomputers, or special software that allows it to interpret physiologic signals, makes medical diagnosis, and, if necessary, apply therapy; (3) guides the user through the process of using the device by audible or visual prompts; and (4) does not require the user to employ any discretion or judgment in its use (CGS § 52-557b).
PROPOSED 2007 LEGISLATION
A bill considered during the 2007 session (sSB 1339, as amended by Senate “A”) would have required the DPH commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) commissioner and within available appropriations, to develop and disseminate information on the public health benefits of providing access to AEDs and the process for obtaining them through the contracting portal section of the DAS website. This information would have to be made available to (1) state agencies and political subdivisions and (2) local and regional boards of education and executive authorities of private schools, for purposes of promoting the placement and maintenance of AEDs in a central location in the buildings and schools under their jurisdiction. The bill passed the Senate but died on the House calendar.
An earlier version of the bill (File 620, as reported favorably by the Public Health and Judiciary committees) would have required licensed health clubs, public and private schools, and certain public buildings to keep at least one automatic external defibrillator (AED) on their premises and have personnel trained in their use on-site during certain periods. It also extended civil immunity from liability to persons or entities providing, maintaining or using AEDs in accordance with the bill's provisions.