February 26, 2009 7:34AM

You Just Gotta’ Love those Trial Attorneys

Lives likely would be saved if hotels stocked defibrillators. Having even one might make a critical difference for a patient having a heart attack. But hotels hesitate stocking the devices, which, while not cheap, are well within reach for most hotels. 

However, reports the Wall Street Journal:

Hotels worry that if they have the devices, which cost about $1,200 to $2,000 each, they could be sued for failing to have enough units, failing to put them in the right places, or failing to replace batteries or maintain them properly.

Great. The American legal system is telling hoteliers that you’re probably safe if you don’t have any life‐​saving equipment on the premises. (Though one can imagine a negligence suit eventually contending that you should have had defibrillators–and perhaps an entire operating room, too!) But if you buy one and don’t adequately train your personnel, or let the batteries die down, or have it on the “wrong” floor, you could be sued. This truly is legal insanity.

Don’t get me wrong. I like lawyers. After all, I picked up a J.D. many years ago, even if Cato rescued me so I don’t have to actually use those skills. But surely it is ridiculous to have a legal system which actually discourages companies from buying equipment which could save lives.

Our new president, a Harvard Law School graduate, might want to add legal reform to his lengthy list of desired transformations of America.