Review on ethics and technological development

Technology

(Franck V., Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Larissa Helena dos Santos, medical student from the University of the Region of Joinville, Brazil. She 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.


Introduction: The training of physicians is the main step to obtain knowledge on both anatomy and physiology, as well as the humanization of professionals. Medical students come into contact with the ethics discipline at the beginning of the college, when they have not yet begun to contact patients, which makes it difficult to understand the discipline and sometimes end up dissipating the acquired knowledge.

Technology, for the medical field, is of utmost importance for the development of tools and techniques that prolong life comfortably to the patient. The new technological age has greatly facilitated access to health services, however, it calls into question the ethics of professionals, who sometimes use it in a way that only facilitates their work and damages the patients’ integrity, or even does not add value to either one.

Methodology: This article is a bibliographical review of works taken from the SciELO virtual platform, which aims to contemplate discussions about how to prepare the medical student for ethical dilemmas involving new technologies. Of the selected articles, six were chosen for reading and analysis, all Brazilian publications, between the years of 2004 and 2007.

Discussion and Results: Bioethics studies are started in the second year of medical school, when students have not yet had the first contact with patients, and because they do not continue in the following years, past concepts and values sometimes end up being lost, which means that when faced with situations that does not follow the ethics, students believe that they are normal. These situations, which with the use of technologies may be more common, especially when it comes to excessive procedures.

Technology is extremely important for the performance of procedures aimed at the physical well-being of patients, but sometimes, if not used in a correct and balanced way, can promote direct consequences on the health and quality of life of the patients. As an example of excessive use, one can mention, aesthetic procedures, even if it is the patient’s will, doctors must act in an ethical way in order not to cause harm to health, to alter the human essence, or to make the doctor only a manipulator of life human.

Among the ways in which students can prepared for this reality is the continuous study of ethics and bioethics, in order not to let values be lost during the course. The introduction of bioethics in courses is of utmost importance in this new era of technology as it encourages the student’s view of the social role of the physician in modern society.

Conclusion: Therefore, in order to prepare students to practice their profession in the midst of new technologies, teaching ethics and bioethics is of utmost importance, for teaching values, as long as they occur in the last years of the course, when the student has already had contact with patients, or throughout the course; as well as humanizing activities aimed at showing the student that the patient is a person, not just a machine.

References

  1. http://www.scielo.br/pdf/jvb/v5n1/v5n1a01
  2. http://www.saocamilo-sp.br/pdf/bioethikos/54/Etica_e_inovacao.pdf
  3. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-72992004000500001
  4. http://revistabioetica.cfm.org.br/index.php/revista_bioetica/article/view/177
  5. http://www.saocamilo-sp.br/pdf/bioethikos/54/Ensino_da_bioetica.pdf
  6. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0104-42302005000100015&script=sci_abstract&tlng=pt

About the author

Larissa Helena dos Santos is from the University of the Region of Joinville, associated with IFMSA. She has been member of IFMSA since July 2018, participant of SCORP, SCOPH and NUPEC; she is in first year of medical studies at Univille, Brazil.

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