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An Industrial Accident: Public Health Emergencies and the Emergency Physician: Ethical Considerations 

An Industrial Accident: Public Health Emergencies and the Emergency Physician: Ethical Considerations
Chapter:
An Industrial Accident: Public Health Emergencies and the Emergency Physician: Ethical Considerations
Source:
Legal and Ethical Issues in Emergency Medicine
Author(s):

Chadd K. Kraus

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190066420.003.0024

Emergency physicians and emergency departments serve critical public health functions at all times and particularly during public health emergencies or disasters. Public health emergencies and disasters transform standards of care into crisis standards of care. In addition to traditional tenets of bioethics, during events requiring crisis standards of care, the emergency physician faces the dilemmas of balancing responsibilities of how to allocate scarce resources to individual patients with obligations to the community and with personal and professional autonomy. Crisis standards of care permit emergency physicians to allocate scarce resources to provide necessary treatments to patients most likely to benefit. In crisis standard-of-care situations, emergency physicians must adhere to ethical and professional norms. The emergency physician should focus on how to best use the available resources with the recognition that not all patients might be able to be treated.

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