78% people in UAE willing to help after Good Samaritan Law is introduced

The UAE is soon set to become the first Arab country to pass a 'Good Samaritan Law'.

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Asma Ali Zain

Published: Mon 1 Apr 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 21 Aug 2023, 4:49 PM

One in five people in that UAE believe that they will be legally responsible if they tried to help an emergency victim.

They also believe that they will be held legally responsible if a person gets hurt or dies subsequently (11% per cent) or if they help a victim without first aid or CPR training and they get hurt or die later (10 per cent).

A YouGov survey - done earlier in March among 1,011 respondents in the UAE - showed that more than three quarters (78 per cent) of people are willing to help people caught in medical emergencies once the Good Samaritan Law is enforced in the country.

The UAE is soon set to become the first Arab country to pass a 'Good Samaritan Law', which allows bystanders to offer aid in medical emergencies without fear of legal consequences.

As reported by Khaleej Times previously, a draft federal law that will allow bystanders or the general public to help those in an emergency situation without being held accountable is with the cabinet for approval.

"We are hoping this law will finally be in place this year," said Dr Saleh Fares, head of the Emirates Emergency Medicine Division at the Emirates Medical Association (EMA), while giving an update on the current status of the law.

Developed from the international 'Good Samaritan Law', the draft law has been tailored for the UAE and states that "no criminal or civil appeal shall be made to any person who has provided, in good faith, assistance or relief to another person who is in an emergency situation".

"Currently, around 70-90 per cent of people hesitate in getting involved due to the fear of being caught up in medico-legal procedures," said Dr Saleh. However, with this law's implementation, those helping others with good intentions will be protected.

YouGov's research shows that many people in the UAE do not have much knowledge of the current law about helping people in emergencies.

Just under a quarter (23 per cent) think it is an offence to help a stranger in a medical emergency (7 per cent); not to help a stranger in a medical emergency (3 per cent); or to help a victim without being trained in first aid or CPR (13 per cent).

The research said 4 per cent think otherwise and feel that if they help a person in a fatal situation, they will be legally protected. While one in eight (12 per cent) believe there is no existing law in the country regarding this, four in 10 (41 per cent) do not know about any laws related to this.

The research suggested that the proposed law is not well known. Under a quarter (23 per cent) are aware of it being introduced in the UAE; one in five (19 per cent) are not sure if they have heard about the law; while approaching three in five (58 per cent) don't know about it at all.

According to the draft law, residents will be trained to save lives in emergency situations. The average time of four minutes for paramedics to reach emergency sites does not ensure a life is saved and that's the reason residents are being trained, said Dr Omar Sakkaf, director of medical and technical affairs at the Dubai Centre for Ambulance Services.

The survey data also shows that more than four in five people (86 per cent) would voluntarily undergo medical training after the law comes into effect in order to become better equipped to offer assistance in an emergency situation.

YouGov's research finds that, at present, just under a quarter (24 per cent) said they are trained in giving CPR and a third (33 per cent) are skilled in performing basic first aid treatments.


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