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Family members, ambulance clinicians and attempting CPR in the community: the ethical and legal imperative to reach collaborative consensus at speed

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Cole, Robert 
Stone, Mike 
Ruck Keene, Alexander 


Here we present the personal perspectives of two authors on the important and unfortunately frequent scenario of ambulance clinicians facing a deceased individual and family members who do not wish them to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation. We examine the professional guidance and the protection provided to clinicians, which is not matched by guidance to protect family members. We look at the legal framework in which these scenarios are taking place, and the ethical issues which are presented. We consider the interaction between ethics, clinical practice and the law, and offer suggested changes to policy and guidance which we believe will protect ambulance clinicians, relatives and the patient.



Clinical ethics, 1506, right to refuse treatment, autonomy, clinical ethics, education for health care professionals, end-of-life

Journal Title

Journal of Medical Ethics

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BMJ Publishing Group
Wellcome Trust (208213/Z/17/Z)