Who is Responsible for Performing CPR in a Medical Emergency?

Medical emergencies can happen at any moment in a place such as the city of Los Angeles, full of lively people and energetic crowds. Out-of-the-hospital cardiac arrests, accidents, and other emergencies occur suddenly, where immediate medical assistance may be required. In such critical moments, the life-saving procedure, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and its timely administration can lead to whether or not a life will be saved.

The city of Los Angeles and its population have a bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) rate of 28%, while the survival rate from those interventions was a low 2.1%. The survival and bystander CPR rates in Los Angeles are quite low; hence the need for a more trained CPR population is evident for a safer city and faster emergency responses. Low CPR and survival rates raise the question, exactly who is responsible for performing CPR in a medical emergency?

The Role of Healthcare Professionals

The main responsibility of performing CPR in an emergency is in the capable hands of healthcare professionals. All medical staff typically possess the necessary training and certification to perform CPR correctly and effectively. Accordingly, in hospitals, clinics, and ambulance services, the medical personnel must respond timely to emergencies and initiate life-saving measures, including CPR.

Possessing professional knowledge of CPR techniques allows medical personnel to assess different situations, perform CPR if necessary, and coordinate the arrival of additional medical resources. Their training equips them to handle the complexities of different emergency scenarios and adapt their approach accordingly. An emergency situation does not involve standard procedures and may require a slightly different approach. Therefore, healthcare emergency teams in a city like Los Angeles play a crucial role in responding to medical emergencies.

The Importance of CPR Training for the General Public

Healthcare professionals have the training to handle medical emergencies, but what about the rest of the population? Unfortunately, real emergencies often happen when no professional medical help is present at the scene.

When immediate medical help is unavailable, the responsibility for performing CPR often falls on bystanders or individuals present at the unpleasant emergency scene. This means that the bystanders are the key player in the life-saving game. That is why the importance of having a larger percentage of the population trained and certified in CPR can make a significant difference.

Can Anyone Perform CPR in an Emergency?

In the last decade, the importance of public involvement in saving lives has been highly recognized. Many organizations and authorities have been actively promoting general public CPR training and automated external defibrillator (AEDs) presence in many public places.

There is no need for an extensive and professional level of knowledge to perform CPR or use an AED. However, CPR courses can equip individuals with the necessary skills and basic knowledge to respond effectively in an emergency. Providing the larger population with basic CPR training can save more lives in the long term.

In addition, the concept of hands-only CPR has gained attention in recent years, as it is also a very helpful procedure, and yet simpler than the full CPR practice. Hands-only CPR involves performing chest compressions but no rescue breaths. This makes it more accessible to individuals who may be hesitant to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, especially during pandemic and post-pandemic times.

Legal Implication for Performing CPR in an Emergency

The official legal considerations and responsibility to perform CPR rests on healthcare professionals, but the general public also bears some responsibility. This is why it is essential to understand the legal implications surrounding the CPR act of kindness.

Good Samaritan Laws

The fear of legal repercussions can often discourage people from intervening in emergencies. This is especially true if they are unsure of their CPR skills or the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Regarding these concerns, many jurisdictions around the US have enacted Good Samaritan laws. These laws provide legal protection to someone who, in good faith, provides fair-minded assistance to victims in need during emergencies. Good Samaritan Laws are introduced to encourage bystander intervention without the concern of facing liability for any unintended consequences that may arise from acting out and performing CPR in an emergency situation.

California’s Laws

In California, one has no duty to perform CPR, rescue, or even assist another person in an emergency or other in-danger situation. Hence, an individual cannot be held liable for deciding not to help out. Therefore, lawsuits or criminal charges cannot be applied or filed for cases in Los Angeles.

However, it is human nature to act in kindness and try to help someone in an emergency, and some would even refer to it as human decency. Medical professionals and emergency response teams cannot always get to the place of the emergency or accident immediately. That is why performing CPR and helping out can be life-saving in many situations.

The public policy in California favors encouraging bystanders to help in an emergency where CPR needs to be performed. In addition, California has also implied a Good Samaritan statute provision that protects against lawsuits for bystanders willing to perform CPR, or give assistance to those in need.

Even though healthcare professionals and medical staff have the official responsibility for performing CPR, it’s of great importance that CPR training is more widespread among the general public. The more people are CPR trained, the less fearful they will be to provide help as bystanders in an emergency situation. Having more people comfortable with performing CPR means more lives will be saved, and more cities, such as Los Angeles, will be safer places to live.

Improving CPR Training for the General Public

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, could help save lives in medical emergencies, like cases of cardiac arrest. That is why training the general public in CPR is quite important. Below we present some key points of the significance of CPR training for safer cities and how to improve it.

Timely Intervention

The first thing in an emergency is time. Timely intervention is critical in medical situations. This is especially vital in cases of cardiac arrest, where every minute without intervention decreases the chances of survival.

That is why CPR training and the public availability of AEDs can provide bystanders with the ability to initiate chest compressions and rescue breaths on time. This can help to maintain blood circulation and oxygen supply until professional medical assistance arrives.

Empowering Bystanders to Act

When there is an out-of-the-hospital cardiac arrest or other medical emergencies requiring CRP, some bystanders will often be present at the scene. Hence, the bystanders are the only people that can offer immediate help. In that manner, CPR training can equip the general public with the confidence and knowledge to recognize an emergency and take action to potentially save a life.

Public Awareness

CPR training initiatives also play a vital role in raising public awareness about the importance of timely action in case of sudden cardiac arrest.

With the help of education campaigns and community inclusion in outreach programs, the general public would become more informed about CPR techniques. This can ultimately lead to a greater likelihood of bystander intervention, resulting in a higher sudden cardiac arrest survival rate in the long term.


While a medical professional is the one who is responsible for performing CPR in a medical emergency, still, CPR training for the general public is crucial for saving lives around the country.

CPR training initiatives create a safer and more prepared community by empowering bystanders to act, ensuring timely intervention, and promoting public health by raising awareness. This allows communities to respond effectively in life-threatening situations, hence increasing survival rates in the long term.

In addition, there is the Good Samaritan Law that is in power in most states around the US. This law protects the general public population when performing CPR to help out in a medical emergency. It allows bystanders to concentrate on providing medical assistance until emergency response teams arrive, without worrying about legal liabilities.