'Good Samaritan' law is ill-conceived

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2012, 12:00am


I'm writing in response to a proposal to introduce a 'Good Samaritan' law to urge people to be more helpful to others. I totally disagree with this proposal.

First of all, giving a helping hand to someone in need should be a voluntary act. It should come from the heart. It should not be done for some sort of prize.

In addition, if such a law is enacted, people who receive help may think those who helped them did so only out of legal obligation, not from the kindness of their heart.

That can sour relationships between people.

Finally, people may create situations in which they pretend to help others just so that they can gain public recognition. We may never know who are authentic Samaritans and who are simply frauds.

Let's just help people without any Samaritan laws.

Serena Chan, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Serena. The idea of a Good Samaritan law was raised because of the tragic incident that happened last year in Foshan. A toddler was run over and left dying in the middle of the road while people walked past.

In defence of what might seem like heartless actions, some mainlanders say if you help someone in need, you may be blamed for the accident yourself.

The Good Samaritan law is not a law to force people to help those in need. What it does, though, is offer them protection from being sued.

The idea is that people will be more willing to help those in need if they know they will not get into trouble. Let's take, for instance, the case of giving someone CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). To get someone's heart to start beating, the rescuer has to push down on the person's ribs quite hard. This may cause the ribs to break - especially if it is an elderly person. The family of that person might blame the rescuer and force them to pay hospital bills.

Let's hope this law will put people's minds at ease and make them more willing to take action when others need their help.

Susan, Editor