Attorneys recommended against installing defibrillators in casinos for fear that the plaintiffs’ bar would use the safety measure as evidence that casinos had a duty to provide medical attention to patrons and create additional liability on the occasions the defibrillators fail, but executives overruled the lawyers. As a result,
Medical research shows that casino visitors whose hearts suddenly stop survive at higher rates even than people who happen to go into cardiac arrest while visiting a hospital. “The safest place in America to suffer sudden cardiac arrest is a casino,” says Bryan Bledsoe, a George Washington University emergency-medicine doctor and co-author of textbooks for paramedics.
Dozens of lives have been saved, and Nevada and several other states have since passed tort reform providing immunity to businesses that use defibrillators. Never fear, there’s always someone happy to ascribe a sinister motive to corporate behavior: “‘Casinos are just saving gamblers so that these people can return to casinos and lose more money,’ says David Robertson, a board member of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling.” (Kevin Helliker, “Beating the Odds”, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 28).