A qualitative analysis of the central values of professional paramedics
Keywords:ethics, emergency care, paramedics, central values, qualitative analysis
Biomedical ethics decisions are often made after reflection, deliberation, and after a process of communication, reveal the values and interests of the patient or the patient’s family. However, acute and rapid changes in the patient, the very public view of the care provided, and a need for rapid decision making by paramedics in a prehospital setting make protracted deliberation and reflection a practical impossibility.
As paramedics provide care for patients, they regularly make value-laden choices that affect the type of care, how care is provided, and to whom care is provided. These choices transcend the technical judgment and professional skills necessary for provision of emergency care in prehospital settings. This article identifies, describes, and organizes a number of central values of professional paramedics and discusses how values may be considered by paramedics when resolving conflicting values.
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