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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2002 Oct-Dec;6(4):440-4.

Family perspective of medical care and grief support after field termination by emergency medical services personnel: a preliminary report.

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To determine the acceptance by family members regarding nontransport of patients in cardiac arrest following unsuccessful resuscitation occurring in private residences.


This was a survey with a structured telephone interview. Inclusion criteria included adult patients in asystolic nontraumatic cardiac arrest. The setting was an urban multitiered emergency medical services (EMS) system. Termination of field resuscitation efforts was authorized by an emergency medicine physician at a medical control base station after set protocol criteria. Support services were provided by trained personnel.


Thirty-three follow-up interviews were completed with a family member. Thirty-two (97%) of the contacted family members expressed satisfaction with the services provided by EMS personnel. Twenty-one (64%) patients were not transported to the hospital. All 21 family members of the nontransported were satisfied with both the medical care and the emotional support provided by EMS. Additionally, family members of three of the 12 (25%) transported patients stated they would have preferred to have the patient die at home instead of being transported.


In this small sample, family members accept the nontransport of patients by trained EMS personnel after asystolic nontraumatic cardiac arrest occurring in private residences. This may positively impact emergency department resources for other critically ill patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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