Protect all samaritans

Published 9:49 am Friday, January 8, 2016

The Bible teaches the parable of the Good Samaritan who helps a poor traveler who has been beaten and left for dead. The point of the story is that we are all responsible for each other to help in time of need.

A lesson that we all should strive to practice.

However sometimes reaching out to others can inadvertently cause more harm than good for both parties.

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A case in point is now before the Ohio Supreme Court that could change what the state calls its good Samaritan law, which protects those providing emergency care outside a medical facility from civil damages.

Almost four years ago, a truck driver slipped on a loading dock; his leg became trapped between the trailer of his truck and the dock.

Another man coming to work nearby heard the truck driver’s anguished cries for help.

The driver asked the man if he could move his rig forward to release his leg.

Tragically, the brake didn’t hold and the rig broke the leg. Eventually the driver had to have that limb amputated.

Now the state’s highest court is hearing testimony on whether the Good Samaritan should be held liable for what happened to the driver. In larger terms, that means should those trying to provide non-medical help in emergencies be protected under the Samaritan law?

Without question, as tragic as the events were, the man who answered the call to help should be protected. If he had not assisted, the results for the driver could have much worse. Decent actions should not end up sending people to court.