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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Emergency Response: Civil Liability of Volunteer Health Professionals

Vivian S. Chu
Legislative Attorney

The devastation inflicted on the Gulf region by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, in addition to recent disasters in the Midwest due to tornadoes and flooding, triggered mass relief efforts by local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as private organizations and individuals. As unpaid volunteers have carried out much of the relief effort, some have questioned whether such volunteers—particularly medical personnel, so-called “volunteer health professionals” (VHPs)—will be protected from potential civil liability in carrying out their duties. This report provides a general overview of the various federal and state liability protections available to VHPs responding to disasters. This report does not discuss liability of VHPs who go abroad to render assistance.

Date of Report: January 19, 2011
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: R40176
Price: $29.95

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