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26th Annual National Collegiate EMS Conference

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Who Should Go First? Medical Ethics and Disaster Triage

You are the first EMT on the scene of a bus crash and expertly triage 12 patients. The first ambulance arrives and can take 2 patients. Which of the 3 red-tagged patients should go first? The doctor? The pregnant patient? The child? Triaging patients during an MCI is one of the most distressing and challenging tasks in EMS. Providers are expected to objectively and accurately sort patients utilizing rarely-used algorithms in the midst of a chaotic scene. In reality though, triage algorithms come up short in many situations, leaving providers with the difficult decision of determining who should be treated or transported first. During this session, we will explore the various ethical situations that may present themselves during triage and how they may be addressed. The goal of this session is to begin a conversation that can be continued on your campuses and incorporated into your MCI planning and training.


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