The ethical question of chip implantation - Essay Example

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The purpose of implanting such a chip into a person is to have a fully accessible, readily available library of medical information on a patient as soon as they come through the doors of a hospital.As pointed out by ethicists,there is a tendency to seek the most efficient outcome over the most ethical, or moral,procedure. …
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CHIPs: We Can But Should We? 03/28 CHIPs: We Can But Should We? As pointed out by ethicists, there is a tendency to seek the most efficient outcome over the most ethical, or moral, procedure. Similar to this notion of the efficient as prior to the ethical is the idea that because a new technology exists, and it has the support of the corporate interest that created it, that this new technology ought to be implemented. For instance, this attitude is clearly seen during discussions of whether the world ought to embrace genetically modified foods. Because the technology is there, the argument goes, and it is ready to be deployed to everyone, this necessarily implies that we are bound to using it. Nevertheless, this kind of argument fails. While an “ought” implies a “can”, a “can” does not imply an “ought”. To illustrate, a moral principle is only correct if it can be applied in certain situations. This kind of relationship is not bidirectional: namely, just because we can do something, that does not mean we ought to do it. Ahn et al. (2004) demonstrated the successful application of a disposable plastic biochip for point-of-care interactions between healthcare providers and patients. The purpose of implanting such a chip into a person is to have a fully accessible, readily available library of medical information on a patient as soon as they come through the doors of a hospital. While the benefits of this efficient outcome might be immediately apparent to doctors and nurses, the ethical aspect of the prospect may be challenging to most people. It is this ethical aspect of the debate that leads some to be politically hesitant to enact policies mandating the implantation of such devices into all individuals for the sake of expediency in the healthcare setting. Body of Analysis Efficiently speaking, there is a tremendous upside in mandating such biochips for all persons who take advantage of the healthcare system. Having this chip would decrease costly processes of acquiring and analyzing information related to patient history, known allergic reactions, and detailed medical profile. It would save time and money lost in malpractice lawsuits, which are a huge drain on the healthcare system, by avoiding costly mistakes that doctors and nurses make based on incomplete information. Additionally, hospital wait times for patients in need of more urgent care would be decreased because of less time spent on acquiring the information that professionals need to save more lives. Upon discharge, patients would have the new information from his or her latest hospital visit uploaded to the chip for future reference, saving even more time for healthcare providers (Dewan, Lorenzi, & Lou, 2011). The universal application of these chips might even allow doctors in another part of the country to be fully knowledgeable of their patients, without even meeting them. Accordingly, it seems the utilitarian net benefit of having everyone required to accept these chip implantations would be higher than the net costs. Nevertheless, there are a number of ethical concerns to weigh against the most efficient outcome in this case. The first issue is the sovereignty of persons over what goes into their bodies. It will surely concern some that the government is mandating chips to be put into people for the purposes of monitoring and controlling information (Swierstra & Rip, 2007). Although some might see this in terms of expediency, others will see this in terms of invasion or controlling of information in a totalitarian fashion. Additionally, although biochips are becoming cheaper and easier to implant, there is also an economic problem with the broad scale mandating of chip implantation: namely, who will absorb the costs of putting these chips into every adult and child (Mehta, 2008). There are also a number of safety concerns about these technologies before they should even be considered safe for the public to use with regularity. Conclusion and Recommendation Clearly, there are a number of unanswered concerns about the potential application of these devices in large populations, chief among which are the ethical concerns revolving around the process of mandating chip implantation in autonomous individuals. While it seems the theoretically efficiency and money saved by implemented is a strong case in favor of making this a new government policy, it remains to be seen whether the “should” follows the “can” in this case. Ethically, one cannot help but recommend everyone give this technology time to develop, and time for everyone to accept the idea that the efficient outcome in this case could save a substantial number of lives if applied universally. Despite the ethical problems as they exist now, it seems nonsensical that individuals would reject the utilitarian consequence of saving other lives by partaking in a program that leaves little effect on themselves. Works Cited Ahn, C., Choi, J.-W., Beaucage, G., Nevin, J., Lee, J., Puntambekar, A., et al. (2004). Disposable smart lab on a chip for point-of-care clinical diagnostics. Proceedings of the IEEE, 92, 154-173 . Dewan, N., Lorenzi, N., & Lou, J. (2011). The promise of health information technology in behavioral health and informatics: An overview. Health Informatics, 1, 3-10. Mehta, M. (2008). Nanotechnology and the dMichael D. Mehtaeveloping world. Bulletin of Science Technology Society, 28, 400-407. Swierstra, T., & Rip, A. (2007). Nano-ethics as NEST-ethics: Patterns of moral argumentation about new and emerging science and technology. Nanoethics, 1, 3-20. Read More
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