By Dr. Mallika Marshall

(CBS) – Some people hesitate to perform life-saving CPR for fear they might get into legal trouble, but a new study finds that fear is unfounded.

Every state has “Good Samaritan” laws, which provide legal protection for anyone who gives reasonable assistance to others in peril, but many people still hesitate to jump into action, worried that they will be legally liable if the outcome is bad.

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A team led by an emergency medicine physician at the University of Florida reviewed 30 years’ worth of legal cases involving CPR and found only a few legal cases brought against people who had performed CPR. There were many more cases filed when someone failed to attempt the life-saving measures.

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The researchers hope this reassuring news will prompt more people who know how to perform CPR to actually do it.

Dr. Mallika Marshall