Analysis: The Tennessee legislature passed Public Chapter No. 197 which was signed into
law by Governor Bill Haslam on April 23, 2013.
Public Chapter No.
provides a new requirement for almost every kind of health care practitioner or
health care facility that provides health care to prenatal patients or
newborns. This bill requires these health
care providers to provide infant CPR “information and instruction concerning
the appropriate use and techniques of infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR).” TCA § 68-5-___ (the new bill did not designate a specific section for
the statute but that will be done shortly).
This new law goes into effect on July 1, 2013.
The information and instruction is required
to be provided to one (1) parent or caregiver of the newborn infant. It is also important to point out that this
new statute does not go as far as requiring classes in certification for infant
CPR. The entire text of this new statute
is as follows:
(a) Hospitals, birthing centers, health care
facilities, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants or other
health care practitioners who provide medical care to newborns as well as
obstetricians who provide routine care for prenatal patients shall make
available information and instruction concerning the appropriate use of
techniques of infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to at least one (1)
parent or caregiver of a newborn infant.
Nothing in this section shall require classes in certification of infant
CPR. This section shall also not
constitute a requirement to be assessed during any inspection under Chapter 11,
part 2 of this title.
(b) Any facility or practitioner acting
within the scope of their licensure or practice shall be immune from any civil
liability under this section and shall have an affirmative defense to any
criminal liability arising from making such information available.
Obviously, this statute opens up the
possibility of liability (including a potential negligence per se violation) should
a healthcare provider fail to provide infant CPR instruction and
information. If anything happens to a
newborn child and CPR is not performed properly by the parents or caregiver
because they do not know how to perform CPR, this statute opens up the health
care providers to liability if they failed to comply with this statute. As a result, it is very important for all
health care facilities and providers to have a specific requirement that this
information and instruction be provided.
This author recommends that this should be documented in writing with a
signature of the family member or caregiver that was provided the appropriate
information and instruction under the statute.
I have four young children and I know how
difficult the checkout process already is after having a newborn infant as
there are numerous documents that need to be signed and various representations
that need to be made. However, if the
hospital and medical care practitioner do not provide this information and
instruction already, it must do so starting on July 1, 2013 even if it means a
longer checkout process. It is my
opinion the best practice is to have a signed document in writing in each patient
file regarding specific compliance with this new statute. If this is not done and something happens to
the child where proper CPR could have made a difference, then this statute
provides a new avenue for liability of the practitioner or facility.
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