Objective To evaluate the experience, opinions and moral positions of French emergency physicians (EP) who had taken a paediatric university course on parental presence during child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and to compare it with the responses of nurses on their teams.
Methods A questionnaire was sent to 550 EPs who had taken the course during the previous 6 years; the EPs were also asked to give a copy of the questionnaire to nurses on their staff. Data were collected on experience of parental presence during child CPR, opinions on the practice, arguments for and against parental presence, and the moral positions of respondents regarding their perception of life and the sharing of medical/parental power in the decision-making process.
Results 343 responses were analysed, 47% from EPs (29% response rate) and 53% from nurses. 52% of respondents had experienced parental presence during child CPR, but it had been the physician's wish on only 6% of these occasions. Only 17% of respondents favoured parental presence, with EPs (27%) being favourable more often than nurses (12%). The reasons against parental presence were psychological trauma for the parents, risk of interference with medical management, and care team stress. Respondents not in favour of parental presence expressed this view more for medical reasons than for parent-related reasons. The physicians not in favour of parental presence espoused a moral position predicated on medical power.
Conclusions A majority of EPs and nurses were reluctant to have parents present during child CPR. Their attitude involved medical paternalism.
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