On technology and medical ethics

wallee

(Dominik Scythe, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Daniel Andrés Sierra García, a 22 years old, 5th year Medical Student from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


All human activity has an ethical background. There’s a social force that affects each individual action, similar to the force of gravity that it’s impossible to escape of. Good and evil are two opposite poles within whose polarizations develops human behavior and ethics.

But, what’s the purpose of ethics? Essentially, the common good. But the interpretation of what is good for each and every human being is in constant change and even controversy.

Health is the most precious asset of the individual. For physicians, who have vowed to preserve life at all costs, for whom the Deontological Code issues the moral standards that are required to meet by each doctor; life is priority in daily practice.

But medical practice confronts professionals to ethical dilemmas; many conflicting decisions force physicians to choose a path that respects the patient’s hopes and wishes, searching for the best for patient’s health.

Ethical issues are continuously presented in medical practice, especially in relation  diagnosis and therapeutic technological advances. Technology in the medical practice has been an amazing benefit for health care, mainly in diagnostic and treatment methods.

However, as these changes became progressively fast and overwhelming, new dilemmas began to emerge that challenged several of the ethical principles of medical profession and influenced its practice.

Many ethical aspects surround technology usage in medical practice: is the use of a new technology justified according to its price, quality and efficiency? Is there sufficiently trained staff for its proper use?

Does the new technique overcome those that are already in use and have economic advantages? Is the patient’s quality of life improved? Can it be used by the general population or will it be reserved for a privileged few?

The German philosopher Hans Jonas stated: “…technology is an exercise of human power, that is, a form of action, and all human actions are answerable to moral scrutiny.” This concept let us reflect on the use of technology on medical practice; to evaluate if the contemporary practice of medicine is respecting the ethical principles that govern the medical practice and if it is aware of the power of technology.

These reflections open the door to elucidate why physicians have been slipping more and more towards science, in deterioration of the art that is the side of medical practice that embraces humanism and allows physicians to come closer as human beings to another human being.

The inclination of medicine towards scientific and technological aspect represents a risk of leaving aside the altruism, own and essential attitude of the medical practice, that without doubt must be the base of the actions that leads physicians in the patient approach.

Hence, ethics education in the medical field must be oriented to produce physicians who know how to use technology discriminately. The appropriate clinical knowledge, intuition and other attributes, together with help, understanding, consolation…, supported by listening and speaking with patients, lead physicians to understand them. That is the language of the science and the art of medicine.

About the author

Daniel Andrés Sierra García is a 22 years old, 5th year Medical Student from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. President of IFMSA Guatemala. He stands for human rights in healthcare and actively promotes cultural competence in Guatemala’s society.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

These countries are best at attracting and nurturing talented workers

Falsified medicines: new rules to enhance patients’ safety

Climate change hits the poor hardest. Mozambique’s cyclones prove it

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to embrace unlicensed bands and Wi-Fi

One-sixth of the world’s economy has now pledged to cut CO2 to zero by 2050

‘A trusted voice’ for social justice: Guterres celebrates 100 years of the International Labour Organization

5 steps that could end the plastic pollution crisis – and save our ocean

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

The new ethical dilemmas in medicine of the 21st century

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

GSMA announces new keynote speakers for 2018 Mobile World Congress

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

Youth2030: UN chief launches bold new strategy for young people ‘to lead’

Medical students, climate change and health: an unorthodox combination

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

Canada leading the way on women’s inclusion and empowerment, says OECD

Be a part of the World Forum on Future Trends in Defence and Security

This is how rice is hurting the planet

Libya: Heavy shelling and civilian deaths ‘blatant violation’ of international law – UN envoy

Does the West reserve the fate of Libya and Syria for others? How does this relate to the EU’s Neighborhood Policy?

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

Reform of road use charges to spur cleaner transport and ensure fairness

Tax revenues continue increasing as the tax mix shifts further towards corporate and consumption taxes

World Cancer Day: Early cervical cancer diagnosis could save lives of over 300,000 women

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Marginalized groups hit hardest by inequality and stigma in cities

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

GSMA Mobile 360 – Latin America at Mexico City: Intelligently Connecting to a Better Future, in association with The European Sting

Celebrate love, strengthen partnerships to end AIDS epidemic by 2030 says UN agency

A quarter of Americans have no retirement savings

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: The fruits of sustainability and decent work

UN experts urge India to align new anti-trafficking bill with human rights law

UN health agency spotlights stalled effort to close health divide across Europe, in new report

Tobacco-free Public Space in Africa’s Most Populous Country

EU joint response to disasters: deal reached with Council

How Japan can take the lead with an ageing workforce

These patients are sharing their data to improve healthcare standards

Banks must take bold action to fight climate change. This is how they can do it

Is it true that the G20 wants to arrest tax evasion of multinationals?

Yesterday’s “jokes” and sarcasm by Digital Single Market’s Vice President Ansip on EU member states’ right to protect their telco markets

North Macedonia President, credits dialogue and diplomacy for setting a decades-long ‘name dispute’

DR Congo Ebola outbreak now a Public Health Emergency, UN health agency declares

European Union: Retail sales show deep recession

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

Why the financial scandals multiply?

Bring killers of journalists to justice: UN agency seeks media partners for new campaign

Siemens-Alstom merger: Can Germany and France lobby to circumvent EC’s rejection, against EU consumers’ interests?

Trump: Hostile to Europe, voids Tillerson’s “ironclad” ally pledge

This billion-dollar campaign wants to protect 30% of the planet by 2030

YOUTH WILL BE A KEY FOCUS IN THE NEXT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Work Together to Build a New Type of International Relations and a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity

IMF’s Lagarde: Estimating Cyber Risk for the Financial Sector

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

‘Cataclysmic events’ in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, began ‘global push’ against nuclear weapons says Guterres, honouring victims

More solidarity and interaction between generations needed to challenge age stereotypes and ingrained ageism

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

INTERVIEW: Advancing human rights, a ‘never ending process’ says new UN rights chief

Why a cash-free future might not be as close as you think

‘Health is a right, not a privilege’ says WHO chief on World Health Day

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

More Stings?

Trackbacks

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s