Last week has again focused on the unselfish, heroic acts demonstrated by the first responders and healthcare workers at the Boston Marathon terror attack.
These professionals are credited with running in the direction of the explosions in such a timely manner that resulted in the survival of many of the injured. Terror could be seen in the faces of the crowd and runners. At the same time, nurses, physicians, and EMS personnel focused on quick trauma care for the injured.
They immediately assessed and removed the injured to safety. Victims have commented on the caring reassurance provided by these heroic healthcare professionals. How fortunate that these competent, proficient caregivers immediately focused on the needs of their neighbors while ignoring their own safety.
As the hours of the manhunt continued with expansive TV coverage, I could not help but wonder how I might respond to the moral distress of providing care to the injured suspect accused of this heinous act.
The ANA Standards and Nursing Code of Ethics guides our nursing practice. These are not new situations for our nursing colleagues in the military, prison systems, and other times when expected to care for patients who may be charged with unthinkable crimes. We must applaud the nursing professionals who are placed in these most difficult situations.
While many of these healthcare professionals may have been trained in the area of emergency trauma care, oncology professionals may be faced with a similar dilemma when treating cancer patients who have committed a heinous crime.
If the alleged attacker involved in the Boston Marathon event was diagnosed with cancer and required treatment, how would you feel about treating him as a patient?
I'm sure some of you have treated cancer patients who have committed other serious crimes. If so, how did the medical team treat the patient?
While this has been a very frightening week of terror, we must focus on the helpers who came to the immediate aid of the injured victims. We should be proud of these individuals whose unselfish and professional behavior raised the level of human caring and reminded us that good will conquer evil.