• The Hijacked Ambulance

    Paramedics responding to their own home

  • Introduction

    An amygdala hijack (hijacked ambulance) occurs when strong emotional responses such as anger, fear or anxiety impairs the prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain that regulates rational thought. It is immediate, overwhelming, and out of measure with the actual stimulus because it has triggered a significant emotional response that will likely hijack even the most seasoned paramedic who is forced to attend to their own families.

    It is also widely accepted as ethically advisable that healthcare practitioners do not treat their own family members, to avoid any impact on their professional objectivity, patient autonomy, and informed consent.  Although this topic has been explored in research across other fields of medical practice in the past decades, no such research currently exists exploring the experiences of paramedics attending to their own families. 

    The Aim

    This project aims to collect the experiences of paramedics who have responded to their own families in the course of their work.

    Why is this Important?

    Paramedics regularly attend life-threatening emergencies; rarely do these emergencies involve their own families. This study will be the first to explore the experiences of paramedics who attended their own families in Australia. The project will involve semi-structured one-on-one interviews with paramedics who have attended their own family, followed by a thematic review of the transcripts to identify common elements across interviewees. This study will aim to provide initial research into the experiences of these paramedics. This project will be jointly run by researchers from Griffith University and The University of Melbourne.

    Further Information?

    This research project has been approved by the Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee: GU Ref No: 2022/096


    For full details of the study, please visit the study website: https://reflexiveresearch.com/attending