For Whom the Sirens Toll: A Study on an Ethical Challenge in Prehospital Emergency Medicine

Erbay H., Can R., Turkan A. H.

EURASIAN JOURNAL OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, vol.17, no.3, pp.122-128, 2018 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.5152/eajem.2018.76476
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.122-128
  • Keywords: Emergency dispatch center, ethics, triage, decision-making, TRIAGE, CARE, PRINCIPLES, SYSTEMS, JUSTICE
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: No


Aim: The main responsibility of an emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) is to determine the situation and location of an emergency and allocate emergency resources to the scene. However, in some cases, there might be more than one emergency calls at one time forcing an EMD to decide which call should be given priority. Triage, prioritization, and choosing are issues that may be influenced by the EMD's personal values and thus raise ethical challenges. The aim of the present study was to determine (theoretically) the triage decisions of dispatchers in equal emergency care situations and the factors influencing their thinking and decisions.