The Legalities of Performing CPR

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a crucial set of procedures to help anyone suffering from cardiac arrest, shock, or other trauma – any emergency where the victim’s heart or breathing has stopped. The period between cardiac arrest and the arrival of professional first responders is critical. If a victim is not administered CPR in the first few minutes, the chances of a fatality increase significantly.

Most people would think that providing CPR to someone in obvious need is a no-brainer; a person is not breathing, so CPR is required. Yet performing CPR has its own peculiar legal aspects. Various federal and state laws impact the practice of CPR, from both sides of the act – the person actually providing CPR and the victim. Here are some legal considerations pertaining to CPR.

Good Samaritan Law
Right of Refusal
Every state has their own GSL. This legislation protects those “Good Samaritans” who aid anyone in distress. Since cardiac arrest and respiratory difficulties require immediate and decisive action, Good Samaritan Laws are written for acts like CPR. Depending on your home state, your particular GSL could differ from a neighboring state – and that’s good to keep in mind if you’re away on vacation, on a business trip or other out-of-state location.

Take a few minutes to review your state’s GSL. This information is beneficial for anyone who could potentially perform CPR.

It is every person’s right to refuse life-saving procedures. The Patient Self-Determination Act establishes this right in the form of DNAR, or “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation." Those who deny life-saving support typically are identified with “DNAR” or “no-CPR” tags, jewelry, cards and other personal accessories. If this ID is clear, you should not perform CPR. Failure to heed DNAR legislation could result in criminal prosecution.

These issues converged in the news recently, when a Florida Hospital was sued for properly following a woman’s DNAR request.

Hopefully this information will come in handy, should you ever need to perform CPR. For the best cardiopulmonary resuscitation products available anywhere, check out our homepage at We offer superior CPR valves for professional emergency response teams, training classes and much more.