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Emerging Medical Technologies and Ethical Issues Report (Assessment)


Advances in Medical Technology and Ethical Issues

Among the most ambiguous advances in medicine, one might point out the genetic engineering and technologies enabling one to perform DNA interventions. Many specialists believe that the relevant inventions contradict largely with the basic laws of nature. Specialists note that such discrepancies are typical of technological advances (Volti, 2014). Thus, genetic engineering represents a true ethical dilemma. One should admit that it is highly problematic to say whether one has a right to interfere with natural processes in such cases as changing the genes of a future child, for example.

Patients Number and Resources Availability

When the number of patients exceeds the amount of available medicines or medical technologies one has to set a criterion that would assist in selecting the candidates. As a rule, the priority in such cases is given to those who are most likely to benefit from receiving the relevant procedure. The most controversial point about it is that one experiences difficulty in estimating potential benefit due to the novelty of the implemented technology. As a consequence, an ethical question arises whether anybody has a moral right to supply some patients with innovative treatment and deprive others of a chance to receive it.

The Use of Genetic Modification of Food

Genetically modified food has caused numerous public debates. The supporters of such food believe that it helps producers eliminate potential allergy complications. Moreover, they assume that GMO products are initially resistant to possible diseases and pests. Meanwhile, their opponents suppose that regular indigestion of such products makes the organism resistant to antibiotic medicaments, reducing their effectiveness significantly. They also state that gene modification can result in the appearance of new diseases.

Eugenics Movement and the Ethical Issues

Eugenics Movement advanced the idea of selective breeding in the prospect of receiving the best traits. The main ethical problem consists in defining whether any human has a moral right to decide which trait is positive and which is negative. The idea of the dominance of better humans over the worse ones made people associate the movement with the Nazi ideology. Nowadays, selective breeding is still a highly controversial problem in modern medicine (Bouche & Rivard, 2014).

Genetic Discrimination

The question of inherited and acquired diseases is rather unpleasant for all the employers. On the one hand, they are obliged to provide financial assistance to cover the health risks their workers experience. On the other hand, in some cases, it is evident that an employee’s disease developed regardless of the working environment, and thus, employers are supposed to cover the expenses that they are not responsible for. Therefore, it seems to be reasonable that recruiters prefer to set different compensation terms for employees with a known genetic condition.

As a result, the question arises whether employers should hire a person with a known medical condition. On the face of it, the employment of such workers is highly unprofitable for the company. Meanwhile, the refusal to hire such an employee might be regarded as unethical behavior. Hence, one might suggest that an employer has a moral right to reject hiring a person with a known medical diagnosis in case the offered working conditions are sure to do significant harm to the health of the latter.

One might, consequently, assume that it is fair for employers to use genetic information concerning the staff. Hence, in the case of John Jones, the relevant data seems to be the factor that determines whether the man has the legal right to receive the compensation from the nuclear plant (Genetic Discrimination: Inherited vs. Acquired Disease, 2012). As soon as the number of diseases with genetic component increases it is crucial for employers to possess the detailed information in order to assess the responsibility of the company for a particular medical condition.

Thus, one might conclude that the initial decision of the company to decline John’s appeal for compensation can be justified, particularly in case if the latter was initially aware of the medical condition and potential outcomes (Genetic Discrimination: Inherited vs. Acquired Disease, 2012).

The Episode “Biotech Revolution”

The episode “Biotech Revolution” is aimed at informing the audience about the latest innovations in the genetics and biotechnology field as well as elucidating the potential outcomes of the relevant progress. The film creates a powerful impression as it reveals the unexpected aspects of the modern science. Thus, the breakthroughs in genetics seem to be both promising and frightening.

The most surprising part of the film is Michio Kaku’s speculations over the possibilities of the life-extension technologies. According to the reporter, aging processes can be significantly slowed down in future due to the innovative medical practices (Kaku, 2007). In case, these technologies are successfully implemented the world is likely to transform considerably in the nearest future.

Among the positive aspects of the emerging technology discussed in the film, one might point out the opportunity to cure diseases that one would not cope with in the past. Thus, the reporter notes that the treatment of the severest conditions might be completed within a single injection in a few decades (Kaku, 2007). In the meantime, genetic interventions might, likewise, bring undesirable outcomes; thus, along with the new opportunities, the society receives critical responsibility.

Problem of genetic engineering

The problem of genetic engineering seems to be of particular importance in the age when technologies are rapidly developing opening up more opportunities and prospects. The relevant question is highly ambiguous as it deals not only with a scientific field but with some ethical and moral problems as well.

The problem of engineering genes has been widely discussed throughout the past decades as people’s intention to improve the initial base and perform the changes seems to be natural and explicable. The principal point of all the discussions is the general character of the relevant branch of science. Thus, the supporters of genetic engineering believe that it is a perfect opportunity to make the world better and elucidate the negative traits of a person’s nature. The opponents, in their turn, believe that such kind of intervention contradicts with the natural course of development and thus, is likely to bring harmful outcomes (Reiss & Straughan, 2001).

Indeed, the aim to reach perfection via altering the fundamental basis of nature seems to be impossible to accomplish. Moreover, the question arises whether one can provide any objective criteria for defining perfection.

The typical argument in favor of genetic engineering is that this method is likely to assist in eliminating some severe diseases. Some specialists note that one can modify initially disadvantaged genes via this technique and thus, reduce the number of people with inherited conditions (Sandel, 2009). However, one might object to this supposition as along as with removing particular diseases, gene intervention might, likewise, provoke the appearance of other unfavorable conditions. Therefore, the outcomes of genetic engineering are almost impossible to predict that makes the method highly hazardous.

References

Bouche, T., & Rivard, L. (2014). . Web.

(2012). Web.

Kaku, M. (Reporter), & Laking, A. (Producer). (2007). The Biotech Revolution [Television series episode]. In A. Laking (Executive Producer), Visions of the Future. Web.

Reiss, M.J., & Straughan, R. (2001). Improving Nature?: The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sandel, M.J. (2009). The Case against Perfection: ethics in the age of genetic engineering. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Volti, R. (2014). Society and Technology Change. New York, New York: Worth Publishers.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Emerging Medical Technologies and Ethical Issues." June 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/emerging-medical-technologies-and-ethical-issues/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Emerging Medical Technologies and Ethical Issues'. 17 June.

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