The ethics of refusal of treatment in an emergency


I have not yet become calm inside myself yet. Perhaps I should not be writing a blog still in the state of turmoil of emotions. How on earth do you study a degree in the health profession and when presented with an acute LIFE threatening emergency in a CHILD whose vitals are not great on the not great scale the to point of extremely close to decompensation and not a great outcome i.e. fatality, you send them back to the place they came from – an hour away?

I would like to know in this scenario – IF a fatality had occurred – who would be responsible?

I am deeply horrified and traumatized, not to mention the patient and the family.

Basic human rights, dating back to the day of the story of the good samaritan mean that as a human beings you would do this – help – even if you were not trained?

How does one blandly cop out with excuses like “she is over the age of 12”, the unit here will only see “known” patients – IN AN EMERGENCY??

Yes I acknowledge that we should not have gone the route we did – seeking out the best care for this patient who is on an insulin pump and has previously been traumatised and treated very very badly in the local state institution. We should have just argued as I did with the local institution until we got her into a unit that could take care of this emergency. It was partly trying to respect the patients rights and dignity and wishes. Next time the only thing I will consider is her LIFE and getting the emergency treatment (albeit having to argue for more than an hour and a half on my own cell phone) to get it.

There is something VERY very wrong with the way things work when a child’s life hangs in the balance and bureaucratic CRAP stands in the way of rescuing that life.cathair

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2 thoughts on “The ethics of refusal of treatment in an emergency

  1. drleethegp August 7, 2015 at 10:23 am Reply

    Thanks so much to all the reads of this article – your interest warms my heart

    Like

  2. Julie Mahoned August 12, 2015 at 9:12 am Reply

    Hi everyone

    How I wish there are more doctors like Dr Lee who cares so much . I am a patient of Dr lee and it does not surprise me on how dedicated she is to everyone out there.

    Like

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