Archive for June, 2008

C-P-Rn’t You Glad You Didn’t Enroll in this Course?

June 22, 2008

Schoenlank v. Yonkers YMCA  (New York)
(A CPR student was injured by an instructor who applied “’forceful’ and excessive pressure and torque to the student’s head and neck for a period of approximately 20 seconds”; Court denied summary judgment for the instructor in finding that a triable issue of fact remained as to whether the instructor had negligently or recklessly enhanced the risk of injury associated with this demonstration.)

The plaintiff was an experienced lifeguard. While taking a CPR re-certification course, the plaintiff decided to volunteer to be part of a demonstration where the instructor showed the class how to “properly” perform a cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) technique known as a “head-tilt, chin-lift.” This technique is a method of clearing the airway of an unconscious person in an emergency situation. During the demonstration, the plaintiff suffered injuries from what he described as an, “application of ‘forceful’ and excessive pressure and torque to [his] head for a period of approximately 20 seconds.” The lower court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment in holding that plaintiff was barred from recovery because he had primarily assumed the risk of injury by volunteering to participate in the demonstration. That court found this risk as being inherent in this sports/recreational activity.

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