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The study of ethics in medical technology plays an important role for people to understand and examine our moral life in relation to this field. There should be careful balance between promoting medical technology innovation while at the same time protecting the individuals who are subjected to these procedures. The importance of ethics in feasibility is that it helps in developing the knowhow of these therapies hence studies should designed to collect data which are general. Ethical concerns should seek to minimize harms to individual and at the same time maximize the benefits of applying these medical technologies.
In their research, Nimsky & Fahlbusch (2006) noted that the major theme has been the fear of losing control over technology that has developed autonomy of its own. They continue to say that while neuro augmentative surgery has been generally accepted questions are raised concerning the ethics of behaviour modifications and personality alterations. Nimsky & Fahlbusch (2006) noted that ethical decisions concerning medical therapy are based on a case by case analysis, trying to achieve the best result for the patient within the confines of the broader religious precepts”(p. 10).
Ethical issues in feasibility studies • (example SBIR Phase I research)
When carrying out feasibility in medical technology research the soundness and technical merit of the proposed approach should be put into consideration. Leonard (1999) argues that the qualification of the proposed principal investigator, supporting staff and consultants is vital. He continues to say that the degree to which the phase 1 objectives are to be met and feasibility demonstrated is crucial. Another ethical issue in feasibility study is the adequacy of assurance detailing the proposed means for safeguarding human subjects and protecting against or reducing any adverse effects of the environment (Leonard, 1999). When carrying out feasibility study there should be a joint decision making with physician and patient or proxy with the involvement of the ethics committee.
Ethical issues in emergency use
Tintinalli (2003) says that most ethical codes address common features in emergency use of medical technology. These ethical issues revolve around doing good, doing no harm and respect for patient autonomy, confidentiality, honesty, distributive justice and respect for the law. Tintinalli (2003) further indicated that “in emergency use ethical dilemmas may arise when there is a potential conflict between two principles or values” (p. 99). The ethical issues may be resolved by several means including individual physician judgment, additional information gathering and meetings with health care professionals, patients and families. Tintinalli (2003) also says that many emergency physicians fear litigation or criticism when carrying out emergencies in medical technology. In this context the withholding or limitation of medical interventions that have a predicted low likelihood of producing a successful outcome can be a difficult decision. In emergency medicine
Ethical issues in treatment use
According to Tintinalli (2003) many ethicists agree that physicians are under no obligation to render treatment that they deem of little or no benefit to the patient. He further says that there have been numerous ethical opinions supportive of the position of offering only those treatments judged to be likely medical benefit. In medical technology physicians are under no ethical obligation to give treatment that they perceive has no realistic likelihood of medical benefit to the patient. The ethical concern is that in treatment judgments should be unbiased, based on available technologies and societal and professional standards. Tintinalli (2003) argues that ethical dilemmas revolve around individual bias regarding quality of life or other related issues. There are also many cases where dying should be accepted as a natural process even in an emergency setting (Tintinalli, 2003). Other ethical issues which should be put into consideration before treatment include availability of the family and feasibility of informed consent, potential distress to the family.