Advocates, patients and other groups have called on Maryland lawmakers to pass a bill aimed at protecting facilities that make automated external defibrillators available, including restaurants, apartment buildings, fitness centers and golf courses, from liability lawsuits. The state's Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is expected to vote on the measure, which was passed by the members of the House of Delegates in a 133-1 vote.

“I’ve never seen an immunity bill grant immunity for not doing the thing that we want people to do,” said George Tolley, the legislative chairman of the Maryland Association for Justice.

“I don’t really have any recollection of what happened, but I was dead,” Montgomery County resident David Hedrick said, until a teenage lifeguard found an automated external defibrillator and used it to save his life.

“When seconds matter, you can’t agonize ‘Oh, should I save that guy or not’ out of fear of litigation,” bill sponsor Lee said. “It’s good safety and health public policy to do this.”

“We want to encourage buildings to put defibrillators in and not be fearful of consequences,” Alvan Morris said, explaining that his own Chevy Chase condominium complex has resisted the devices because they’re concerned about the potential for lawsuits.