8 September 2009

Q. I work in a group practice with an automatic external defibrillator but have not been trained in its use and have been told that it will be several weeks before it will be possible to participate in training that my colleagues had last year. If an emergency arose would I be criticised because I did not know how to use the machine. In their absence would I be negligent if I used the device in an emergency without being trained?

First of all, if the rest of the staff have been the subject of formal training, then you personally could not be criticised for not taking part in any resuscitation procedure because there would be those present who have had the appropriate training.  I also note that your training is still pending.

As far as your involvement when the staff are not available, then clearly if this were a life or death situation, it would be preferable to attempt to use the equipment having made sure that you had familiarised yourself with the instructions, because as you so rightly say, this is a simple machine to use and it is unlikely that you could do any harm by using it in such a situation.

It is unlikely that you could be considered negligent in any way should your actions result in an unfortunate outcome.  Dental Protection would always defend your right to act in a patient's best interests at all times.

Read Dental Protection's position statement on automatic external defibrillators here...

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