Emergency Medicine and the Ethical Dilemmas

1749 Words Dec 23rd, 2010 7 Pages
Emergency Medicine and the Ethical Dilemmas

Luisa Martin

HCA 322

Instructor Thomas

December 5, 2010

Picture this scenario: You are working in the emergency room of a public hospital where the inflow of patients is higher than the available beds. You are treating an elderly man who is breathless and cyanosed. While you assess whether he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or heart failure, he becomes drowsy and starts gasping. You quickly intubate him with some difficulty, prolonging his period of hypoxia, and put him on ventilator support. You then get a phone call from a senior consultant in the hospital that an important social activist is about to arrive with chest pain and will need to be admitted. You are directed to
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Thus, emergency physicians cannot rely on earned trust or on prior knowledge of the patient's condition, values, or wishes regarding medical treatment. The patient's willingness to seek emergency care and to trust the physician is based on institutional and professional assurances rather than on an established personal relationship. Fourth, emergency physicians practice in an institutional setting, the hospital emergency department, and in close working relationships with other physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and other health care professionals. Thus, emergency physicians must understand and respect institutional regulations and inter-professional norms of conduct. Fifth, in the United States, emergency physicians have been given a unique social role and responsibility to act as health care providers of last resort for many patients who have no other feasible access to care. Sixth, emergency physicians have a societal duty to render emergency aid outside their normal health care setting when such intervention may save life or limb. Finally, by virtue of their broad expertise and training, emergency physicians are expected to be a resource for the community in pre-hospital care, disaster management, toxicology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, public health, injury control, and related areas. All of these special circumstances shape the

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