The importance of reliable information exchange in emergency practices: a misunderstanding that was uncovered before it was too late

BMC Medical Ethics 2015, 16:46
Author: Halvor Nordby
“Many medical emergency practices are regulated by written procedures that normally provide reliable guidelines for action. In some cases, however, the consequences of following rule-based instructions can have unintended negative consequences. The article discusses a case – described on a type level – where the consequences of following a rule formulation could have been fatal.The case study accentuates the significance of prudent judgment in medical practice. In the case described, the consequence of trusting the written advance directive could have been fatal, but the point is general: for the purpose of achieving excellent organizational performance, it is insufficient for health workers to rely uncritically on rules and procedures. Even the clearest rule formulations must be interpreted contextually in order to determine ethically correct behavior and avoid potential negative consequences that are not in the patient’s best interests.”
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