Ethical decision-making based on field assessment: The experiences of prehospital personnel.

Nursing ethics

PubMedID: 29121819

Torabi M, Borhani F, Abbaszadeh A, Atashzadeh-Shoorideh F. Ethical decision-making based on field assessment: The experiences of prehospital personnel. Nurs Ethics. 2017;969733017736925.
INTRODUCTION
Due to the stressful nature of prehospital emergency providers' duties, as well as difficulties such as distance to information resources and insufficient time to analyze situations, ethical decision-making in prehospital services is a daily challenge.

OBJECTIVES
This study aimed to describe the experiences of Iranian prehospital emergency personnel in the field of ethical decision-making.

METHODS
The data were collected by semi-structured interviews (n = 15) in Iran and analyzed using the content analysis approach. Ethical considerations: This study was conducted in accordance with the principles of research ethics and national rules and regulations relating to informed consent and confidentiality.

RESULTS
The results obtained were categorized into three main categories that included "assessment of the scene atmosphere, assessment of patients' condition and their family, and predicting outcomes of decision-making." The central category was "field assessment," which demonstrated the strategy of ethical decision-making by prehospital providers when facing ethical conflicts.

CONCLUSION
Although findings showed that the majority of prehospital providers make ethical decisions based on the patients' benefit, they also consider consequences of their decisions in dealing with personal and professional threats. This article identifies and describes a number of ethical values of prehospital providers and discusses how the values may be considered by paramedics when facing ethical conflicts.