The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

71° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Liability hubbub enough to provoke extreme, high-risk reactions”

    Liability hubbub enough to provoke extreme, high-risk reactions

    I’m getting a liability waiver tattooed on my forehead. I figure it’s the only way to be safe and free in our sue-happy American culture.

    At last year’s Residence Hall Association block party, I had to lie about my age to ride the mechanical bull. My birthday is in November, and they couldn’t possibly allow a 17-year-old to ride a mechanical bull because my parents, 2,000 miles away, had to give consent. Otherwise, they could sue if I broke my neck. When I went skydiving last winter, the paperwork took ages. This is because jumping 10,000 feet from sky to ground is a lot more dangerous than a carnival ride.

    Years before that, my brother had trouble getting a necessary hernia operation performed because he was in California and the insurance policy was held by my parents in New York. Phone calls had to be made, and then more phone calls, and then paperwork had to be filled out, and then faxes had to be sent and in the end he was just lucky that a hernia is not a life-threatening ailment.

    These are inconveniences that we’ve all gotten used to: little flaws in our health care system that we allow to continue just because it’s been like that for a while. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t limited to health care. These problems exist in just about every aspect of our lives.

    How many warning labels do you see every day? Doesn’t it seem like every single product in the supermarket could kill or maim you in some way? They probably can, but I’d prefer that we limited the warning labels to important things. Oh really? I’m not supposed to drink rubbing alcohol? Gosh, label, I’m glad you told me that!

    On a more serious note, if I’m unconscious in a residence hall with some unknown ailment, resident assistants who are certified to give CPR are discouraged from trying. Not just CPR – basic first aid or anything else. This isn’t because my RA wants me dead – he seems like a nice guy. It’s because if something goes wrong with the attempt, I can wake up (or not) and at some point down the line a lawyer can be called, and that Good Samaritan can end up out of a job and out of a lot of money. I don’t want anyone to ever be scared of giving me CPR unless it’s because I actually don’t need it. They shouldn’t have to be certified, and thankfully Arizona has Good Samaritan laws to protect legitimately qualified individuals from litigation.

    I am not certified to perform CPR, but that’s because my certification has expired. I learned a few years back in the Boy Scouts, and it’s not actually that complicated. It’s kind of like riding a bike:You never really forget, and it’s easy to break ribs if you do it badly. If the paramedics are taking too long to arrive and I see a person who needs CPR, then of course I will do my best, lawsuits be damned. The 911 operator is trained to offer guidance so that I don’t screw up, not to sit there and twiddle their thumbs while the ambulance speeds through traffic. When lives are at stake, we shouldn’t be concerned with trivialities like liability.

    That’s why I want to get a universal waiver, legally binding, tattooed on my face. I’ll have to get the legal technicalities worked out, but think something along the lines of “”I will never ever sue you, ever.”” And then my signature, of course. That will be the hardest part: using a tattoo gun to sign my own face.

    It’ll be worth it, though. I’ll never have to worry about people treating me differently because they fear legal repercussions, and I’ll be free to do all the stupid, reckless, adrenaline-junkie type things that I want to do. When something goes wrong, people won’t have to worry about anything but helping me out, with no motivation but their own altruism. If there doesn’t happen to be a doctor in the restaurant, and nobody wants to do the Heimlich maneuver, and the paramedics are late, then I’m a goner anyway and the tattoo was merely a waste of money.

    If I really want to get paid for my suffering, there are plenty of human medical experiments I can try.

    Eric Moll is a sophomore majoring in creative writing and environmental science. Please help him when he’s choking. He’s not faking. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search