By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Are restaurant workers legally required to know the Heimlich?

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Well, it wasn’t the cholesterol in Applebee’s food that killed a Massachusetts man. It was the piece of whatever he was eating there that he choked on. Now, his family is suing the restaurant chain, claiming that the manager called 911 but didn’t administer help and that employees were not properly trained on how to save him.

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So, restaurant workers are left wondering: does the law require them to learn how to take medical steps to save a choking patron?

Courts are increasingly expanding liability for all businesses in cases where harm comes to patrons who enter. While fourteen states have laws that require food establishments to train workers on how to help a choking patron, even states that don’t have a specific law requiring aid to choking patrons have a duty to get medical attention for a customer in need.

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That doesn’t necessarily mean that if you are a waiter you personally have to perform the Heimlich. But it’s a good idea to be trained in it because no one wants to be the restaurant where anyone died – either from the cholesterol, or choking on the food that contains it.