Home > Congressional Research Service, health care providers, legal and law enforcement, natural disasters > CRS — Emergency Response: Civil Liability of Volunteer Health Professionals

CRS — Emergency Response: Civil Liability of Volunteer Health Professionals

December 27, 2012

Emergency Response: Civil Liability of Volunteer Health Professionals (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

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.

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