Department of History of Medicine And Ethics, Afyon Kocatepe University Faculty of Medicine, Afyonkarahisar

Keywords: Ethical conflicts; ethics; prehospital emergency medicine


Prehospital emergency medical care has many challenges including unpredictable patient profiles, emergency conditions, and administration of care in a non-medical area. Many conflicts occur in a prehospital setting that require ethical decisions to be made. An overview of the some of ethical issues in prehospital emergency care settings is given in this article. Ethical aspects of prehospital emergency medicine are classified into four groups: the process before medical interventions, including justice, stigmatization, dangerous situations, and safe driving; the treatment process, including triage, refusal of treatment or transport, and informed consent; the end of life and care, including life-sustaining treatments, prehospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), withholding or withdrawal of CPR, and family presence during resuscitation; and some ambulance perception issues, including ambulance misuse, care of minors, and telling of bad news. Prehospital emergency medicine is quite different from emergency medicine in hospitals, and all patients and situations are unique. Consequently, there are no quick formulas for the right action and emotion. It is important to recognize the ethical conflicts that occur in prehospital emergency medicine and then act to provide the appropriate care that is of optimal value.