Ethical Dilemma: Family Presence During Resuscitation

Over the past decade, the family presence during resuscitation has been an increased controversial issue. Although, there are many professional organizations support the notion of family presence, the controversy still continues. Many family members were asked to leave the bedside of their loved one during resuscitation. Parents are often separated from their kids during medical emergencies. The reason behind this can be the existing fear that the family members may interfere with resuscitation efforts or it will traumatize them psychologically. A recent review of three qualitative studies about family presence during resuscitation by Bonnie Schmidt discuss that strong support is shown for the best practice of family presence during resuscitation (Schmidt, 2010).
A moral conflict exists because of the existence of two opposing obligations. The obligation to the family members who wants to be present with their loved ones during medical emergencies and the obligation to healthcare providers who do not want the presence of family members to witness the resuscitation efforts. It is very important to examine the perceptions of patients, families, and health care providers when determining a solution for the family stay during medical emergencies. Often health care providers assume that the family members may interfere with the resuscitation efforts (Thomas, 2008). Another fear is that the family member may not be able to control their emotions, there by hindering the resuscitation efforts.

Many organizations such as Emergency nurses Association and Associations of Critical Care nurses support the presence of family members during resuscitation. Findings from one study suggest that the family members who were not present during resuscitation had more psychological issues throughout the bereavement than those who witnessed an unsuccessful resuscitation. Experts claim that family involvement during resuscitation can help patients and families to control the fear and...