Principlism in paramedicine: an examination of applied healthcare ethics

Principlism is arguably the dominant recognised ethical framework used within medicine and other Western health professions today, including the UK paramedic profession. It concerns the application of four principles: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice.This article examines the theory and practice of principlism, and shows how it is used in daily paramedic practice and decision-making. Practical guidance on applying ethics in paramedicine, illustrated with scenarios, is also provided.This is the first in a series of three articles on paramedic ethics. This series complements the <i>Journal of Paramedic Practice</i>'s concurrent CPD˚series on paramedic law in the UK. Later articles in this series will examine the complex ethical issues that can accompany end-of-life care, and ethical considerations relating to treatment of vulnerable persons including children.

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