Clinicians and Relatives, Consensus, Uncertainty, Emergency and Trust: a continuation from a Journal of Medical Ethics paper

mike stone 02/10/21 Dignity Champions forum

Clinicians and Relatives, Consensus, Uncertainty, Emergency and Trust: a continuation from a Journal of Medical Ethics paper

I was one of the authors of a paper titled ‘Family members, ambulance clinicians and attempting CPR in the community: the ethical and legal imperative to reach collaborative consensus at speed’ which was published by the Journal of Medical Ethics in 2020:

https://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2020/12/02/medethics-2020-106490

The paper discusses a scenario when a wife phones 999, and her husband’s heart stops beating while the 999 Ambulance is en route to her home – the paramedics start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the wife promptly objects:

‘She reiterated that the 999 call was due to a seizure, and had it been for the purpose of providing resuscitation, she would not have called the emergency services ...’

In our paper, we did not discuss the issue which that sentence raises – that if the wife thought her husband’s heart had stopped, she would never have called 999 until after her husband had died: in the paper, we only discussed how a 999 paramedic decides whether or not to attempt CPR once the paramedic has become involved.

The issue raised by that sentence in our paper, is similar to the issues raised by my ‘Father and Son’ scenario:

https://www.dignityincare.org.uk/Discuss-and-debate/download/298/

The PDF discusses this issue – what happens, or "should happen', if a family-carer or relative knows a loved-one should not be resuscitated, but believes that if 999 are summoned to confirm the cardiopulmonary arrest, the paramedics would probably attempt CPR.


Associated files and links: