What Hong Kong needs before a Good Samaritan law: more training in first aid
I refer to the article, “Hongkongers’ reluctance to provide first aid in emergencies prompts call for ‘Good Samaritan law’ to protect those who help” (November 19). I think now is not the time to pass such legislation but it is a good time to discuss the issue.
The tale of the Good Samaritan originates from the Bible (Luke 10:25-37), and its message is to love your neighbours. The Samaritan was considered a good man because he showed compassion for a stranger who had been attacked by robbers. I think compassion comes spontaneously and so a passer-by may voluntarily help a person who is hurt or in distress.
However, when helping someone in a medical situation, compassion alone is not enough; it is important that people know what they are doing.
In the case of traffic accidents, victims may be suffering from bone fractures or crush syndrome. Some people may be having a medical episode like a heart attack or an epileptic fit. It is not possible for untrained people to help those patients, as there is a specific way of moving or tending to them. Also, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) must be administered according to specific techniques and positions, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) should be used only by people who have received training to use such devices. The government should focus on more people receiving basic training in first aid and CPR, so that they can truly help others in need. Otherwise, it is best to wait until trained paramedics arrive.
The public should know that the aim of first aid is to preserve life, to prevent deterioration of the patient’s situation, and promote their recovery.
Before a “Good Samaritan Law” is enacted, it is important for people to have knowledge of first aid, the techniques of CPR and the use of AEDs.
Felix Mak, Kowloon Bay