EMT Ethical issues

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 54
  • Published : February 12, 2014
Open Document
Text Preview

EMT Summer ‘13
Medicolegal and Ethical Issues

Ethics are the study of right and wrong behavior or a set of moral principles. Morals are defined as rules or habits of conduct based on right and wrong. In regards to the relationship with the patient, the EMT must do no harm, be in good faith, and the patient’s best interest meaning the decisions of the EMT are based on providing the best care for the patient. Decisions are never made to benefit the EMT or any other person.

There are several ethical conflicts that may affect the EMT including futility of care, allocation of limited resources, profession misconduct, and economic triage. Futility of care is knowing how to manage a patient who will not survive. Allocation of limited resources is rationing medical resources such as for a mass casualty incident. Profession misconduct is breaking rules by omission or commission such as Mass EMS scandals regarding recertification. Economic triage is making patient decisions based on economic rather than the patient’s best interest.

An individual EMT, even when certified or licensed, may not provide professional care. A legal agreement with a physician allows the EMT to perform medical assessment, care and transport but not as an individual. The agreement dictates that the EMT follows approved directions and protocols. Actions beyond or short of those instructions indicate that the EMT is practicing medicine without a license and is fully liable for the results. Scope of practice defines the level of care that you may provide determined by the regional medical director.

The standard of care determines the quality of care, how it is delivers, and the manner in which the EMT behaves. Variables for standard of care include, number/needs of other patients, availability of equipment, time of day, weather, and years of experience. The duty to act is your legal obligation to provide care, yet in most states, you only have a duty to act when on duty. The Good...
tracking img