Paramedic Ethical Issues

Paramedics often find themselves in the position where they are forced to make a critical ethical decision, that is, a decision regarding what is right or wrong, or even more simply, good or bad. Decisions of this nature are a part of life, influence people every day, be it in their personal or professional lives. Paramedics can choose to avoid these decisions, but avoidance is a form of decision making. People can pretend to minimize them, saying, for instance, that as a paramedic, that person had to make "a patient care decision." Yet, here too, the ethical content of the decision persists, no matter how people may wish it away. Therefore it is important to become familiar with ethics or ethical systems of decision making to muster reason in helping make the best possible moral choice. This course will explore philosophies to help people make better ethical decisions. In so doing, students will consider what a good or "better" ethical choice is in the first place. Choices always involve free behaviours, serious behaviours, and justification for subsequent or past actions – accepting challenges to the framing of ethical behaviour and seeking to explain the reasons for choices.