Defibrillator immunity bill advances

TRENTON – The Assembly Health Committee unanimously released a bill that would provide immunity to individuals who use a defibrillator to save lives.

The bill, A832, was primarily sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Cryan of Union Township. He brought two students to the committee hearing, who said some people fear litigation if they use the AEDs if they are not EMTs.

One of them said a shock isn’t delivered by the device unless the patient is suffering abnormal heart rhythms.

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin supported the legislation, calling it “a great bill.”

She credited the students for bringing attention to the problem of people being “afraid to do the right thing” because they fear getting sued.

“Hopefully, this will be ht first of many such initiatives,” she said.  

Representatives from the American Heart Association and the John Taylor Babbit Foundation, named after a teen who suffered cardiac arrest, supported the bill.

The AHA said only 8 percent of all people who suffer cardiac arrest survive it. However, with people being more comfortable using AEDs, there could be a positive trend.   

The New Jersey Lawsuit Association also supports the bill.

Defibrillator immunity bill advances