Book Reviews

Applied Paramedic Law and Ethics 2013

Edited by
Ruth Townsend
BN, LLB, LLM, Grad Dip Legal Prac, Grad cert VET, Dip Para Sc Convenor, Health Law, Ethics and Human Rights, concurrently in ANU College of Law and School of Medicine, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.
Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW

Morgan Luck
BA, BComm, BA(hons), MA, PGCE, PhD
Associate Head. School of Humanities and Social Science, Charles Sturt University, NSW ,Australia
Member of CAPPE ( Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics)

Churchill Livingstone Elsevier 2013
ISBN: 9780729541343 (pbk.)

Type and Scope of Book

This is book for Paramedics professionals in Australia and New Zealand to examine their practice in regard to law and ethnics. The book uses real life situations and common scenarios and match them to legal cases that challenges the actions of past paramedic experiences. The book highlights the practice of law and ethics to the daily clinical experiences and development of a paramedic profession.


Chapter 1
Why introduce paramedics to law, ethics and professionalism

Chapter 2
An Introduction to ethics for paramedics

Chapter 3
PRECARE – an ethical decision-making model for paramedics

Chapter 4
The ethical governance of paramedic practice

Chapter 5
An introduction to the legal system and paramedic professionalism

Chapter 6
Consent and refusal of treatment

Chapter 7
The tort of negligence, standard of care and vicarious liability

Chapter 8
End-of-life care

Chapter 9
An introduction to child protection and mandatory reporting

Chapter 10
The mental health patient in the pre-hospital emergency care setting

Chapter 11
Employment and industrial law in paramedic practice

Chapter 12
Record keeping and the patient care record

Chapter 13
The use of drugs in pre-hospital care

Chapter 14
Paramedic practice in New Zealand – legal issues and current debates

The book is in many ways an introduction to law and ethics. It introduces the paramedic as an emerging profession to ethics and its application to clinical practice. I like the simple explanation of these ethical concepts and it has helped in my understanding of ethics. It dispels some previous misconceptions and clarified .

The book uses many real life situational case studies that paramedics face on a daily basis. These real life situations are then examined under the light of state and federal laws. These case studies bring the book to life and give the reader the real link between ethical practice and the law. The books key strength it is its ability to draw the links state and federal laws to aspects of clinical practice.

The early chapters of book starts with some simple real situations and moves to complex scenes that challenge to reader. These real life situations are clinical examples most paramedics undoubtedly face in their career. The reader is left in no doubt of to what is the right thing to do according under law. The reader is able to benefit from others unfortunate experiences and exposure to law.

Much of books content is comprehensive examination of diverse aspects of the application of law to the paramedic world. The attempt to be a comprehensive over view of the variety of law and ethics influences has been successful.

The book has been able to include information about different law in the different states of Australia. This is always a difficult task to be totally inclusive. The book uses tables to compare the differences in legislation between the states. The reader can then further reference these pieces of legislation if in need of further knowledge and information.

New Zealand gets its own chapter to include them in the book. The rest of the book attempts to include where possible. This makes this book very appropriate to New Zealand paramedics to use. This inclusiveness is well done and highlights the similarity and differences between services.

The book is specifically written for a paramedic audience. This probably makes it a book that emergency nurses would not turn to directly for information about the law and ethics of emergency nursing. The case studies all relate to a pre-hospital setting.

The book may have included some information around the law and ethics surrounding to handover from the pre-hospital to hospital setting. This aspect of paramedic training has received some attention in recent years due to some poor outcome cases. This could have been included in chapter 12 on record keeping and health care records.

Recommended Readership
The book is clearly written for the paramedic. Any practicing paramedic would do well to read the contents of this book. Upon reading this may change many paramedic perceptions of the right and ethical decision making in their clinical practice. It is essential reading material for any paramedics or student paramedics.

It would be an also an ideal book for any emergency nurse working in pre hospital care. Many emergency nurses currently work in pre hospital care. These mainly revolve around large public event (concerts, parties, motoracing and sporting events). These emergency nurses expose themselves to many similar conflict situations to the paramedic. This book would be helpful to them as they can also become exposed in the pre-hospital setting.

Overall Rating
This is a nicely written text book. The use of real life situations and its relationship and governance under the law is an important subject that any professional should have excellent working knowledge.