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Two Ethical Issues
The first ethical issue faced by the company was low per capita income in India, namely, less than $1.000 per annum. The company could not introduce complex technology with high-precision results because it would be too expensive for consumers to purchase and exploit. Therefore, the company had to provide a simpler, less expensive, and, possibly, less precise device so that Indian consumers could afford it.
The second ethical issue was the lack of access to hospitals. The population of such locations needed a device that could be used either at home or by a doctor who could visit the family and provide an examination with such a device, i.e., it had to be transferred and moved easily. Therefore, simpler versions of such equipment (i.e., ECG machines) were not an option.
To address the identified issues, the company can:
- Create a device that will be smaller, less complex, and possibly less precise than full-scale ECG machines, but that can be purchased by small local hospitals or doctors or even Indian families. The device should not target other populations rather than Indian, and its development should be based on the experiences and specifics standard exactly for the Indian market.
- The device should be moveable, user-friendly, affordable, and suitable for small rural hospitals or families who have no experience in working with medical equipment. Furthermore, its reports need to be understandable for non-professional users and be written in simple language.
Professional and Applied Ethics
Professional and applied ethics in healthcare postulate that those involved in healthcare delivery (including developers of medical equipment) need to be competent, preserve integrity, manage conflicts of interest, maintain confidentiality, contribute to the field, communicate responsibly, and promote health care (ASBH, 2014). The company has not only contributed to the field by providing mobile, easy-to-use, and affordable ECG devices but also supported the promotion of health care among Indian populations by penetrating the market with such a device. Therefore, the company has not breached any professional and applied concepts in the development of the equipment but strictly followed those to improve the quality of life of its consumers.
Responsibility in Resolving Cultural Issues
It appears that per se the company is not responsible for cultural issues present in different societies with regard to ultrasound equipment and preference for male children. Nevertheless, it can still target such problems by launching a campaign that will spread awareness and address the issue among populations that prefer male children to female ones. Furthermore, it can also cooperate with hospitals and facilities that recognize and work on resolving this problem and refuse to work with organizations that directly or indirectly support such methods.
To launch this campaign, the company can work with human rights activists and NGOs who are experienced in addressing the issue via marketing and volunteering campaigns. Additionally, the company can provide purchasers of equipment with materials related to the issue and call for cooperative work on the issue if possible.
Another way to address the issue within the awareness campaign is to start educational courses or a series of lectures for medical professionals involved in the field and evaluate how strongly such methods are supported and whether medical professionals are resisting or encouraging the preference of male children among their patients. A large-scale survey of equipment users can also indicate whether more determined and assertive actions are necessary.