Vid existensens gräns etiskt vårdande och professionellt ansvar vid hjärtstopp utanför sjukhus
Sammanfattning: Aim: To describe and interpret patients’, family members’ and ambulance personnel’s experiences with regard to survival, attendance, and caring at cardiac arrests and deaths, and to analyze ethical conflicts that arise in relation to families and how the personnel’s ethical competence can affect caring and the ability to handle ethical problems.Method: The three interview studies were guided by a reflective lifeworld approach grounded in phenomenology and analyzed by searching for the essence of the phenomenon in two studies and by attaining a main interpretation in one study. In the fourth study, the general approach was supplemented by “reflective equilibrium” that guided the ethical analysis.Results: The survivors are striving towards a good life by means of efforts to reach meaning and coherence, facing existential fear and insecurity as well as gratitude and the joy of life. Family members lose everyday control through feelings of unreality, inadequacy and overwhelming responsibility. Ambulance personnel’s care mediates hope and despair until the announcement of survival or death. After the event, family members risk involuntary loneliness and anxiety about the future. For the ambulance personnel, caring for families involves a need for mobility in decision making, forcing the personnel to balance their own perceptions, feelings and reactions against interpretative reasoning. To base decision making on emotional reactions creates the risk of erroneous conclusions and a care relationship with elements of dishonesty, misdirected benevolence and false hopes. Identification with family members can promote recognition of and response to their existential needs, but also frustrate meeting family members emotions’ and handling one’s own vulnerability and inadequacy. It was found that futile cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administered to patients for the benefit of family members, is not an acceptable moral practice, due both to norms of not deliberately treating persons as mere means and to norms of taking care of families.Conclusions: Ethical conflicts exist when it comes to conveying realistic hope, relief from guilt, participation, responsibility for decision making, and fairness in the professional role. Ambulance personnel need support to enhance ethical caring competence and to deal with personal discomfort, as well as clear guidelines on family support.
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