Case Study A 40-year-old man lost control of his vehicle and struck a guardrail in a single-car collision. He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown through the windshield, sustaining a traumatic, closed-head injury. He was brought to the trauma center via helicopter and was admitted to the surgical intensive care unit. The […]
An ethical dilemma surrounds the caregivers’ decision to restrict a patient’s family member’s access to her loved one during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. As the patient’s wife arrived in the emergency unit, the patient experienced a cardiac arrest, and CPR was initiated. However, the clinician pulled the privacy curtains around the bed to screen the situation from the patient’s wife’s view. Eventually, the patient’s wife was not allowed to watch CPR being performed on her husband, which led to a loss of the opportunity to see him again before he died. Although there does not exist an overriding to honor the family’s desire to be present during CPR, allowing them to stay with their loved ones helps safeguard their mental and emotional health. According to Toronto and LaRocco (2019), being present during CPR allows family members to understand that everything possible to revert the patient’s condition has been implemented and that there is nothing else that clinicians can do to help them improve. Family members also gain an opportunity to remain with their loved ones during the resuscitation and see them for the last time in case of death, which helps to avoid post-traumatic stress and its associated health implications. Therefore, it was necessary for the healthcare personnel handling the code situation to allow the patient’s wife to stay in the room as CPR was performed.
Allowing family members in the room during CPR does not invade the patient’s confidentiality. According to de Mingo-Fernández et al. (2021), offering family members the option to be present during CPR brings about positive results on psychological variables among both the patient and their loved ones. Although it may constitute a distraction to the clinicians, most patients are observed to respond positively to such an undertaking. Most patients, therefore, do not feel that their privacy is invaded. However, the family presence of CPR may impact the ethical principle of futility as clinicians’ capacity to deliver the required services to the patient is distracted. I, therefore, believe that family members should be present during resuscitations.
Toronto, C. E., & LaRocco, S. A. (2019). An integrative review is a family’s perception of and experience with family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Journal of clinical nursing, 28(1-2), 32-46. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jocn.14649
de Mingo-Fernández, E., Belzunegui-Eraso, Á., & Jiménez-Herrera, M. (2021). Family presence during resuscitation: adaptation and validation into Spanish of the Family Presence Risk-Benefit scale and the Self-Confidence scale instrument. BMC health services research, 21(1), 1-12. https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-021-06180-2
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Published On: 01-01-1970