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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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Robert Cole, Mike Stone, Alexander Ruck Keene, Zoe Fritz

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-653
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Issue number10
Published1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Contributors All four authors conceived the article and, in discussion, both in person and by email, worked out the structure of a ’round table’. The individual contributions are attributed in the text. The abstract, introduction and conclusion was initially drafted by ZBMF and contributed to by all authors. The final draft was agreed by all authors. Funding ZBMF is funded by Wellcome Trust grant number 208213/Z/17/Z. Competing interests None declared. Patient consent for publication Not required. Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer-reviewed. Data availability statement There are no data in this work. Open access This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: licenses/by/4.0/. Publisher Copyright: © Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


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.

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