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Ethics in Biomedical Engineering


Is learning about ethics an important component of undergraduate biomedical engineering education? Why or why not?

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Ethics in Biomedical Engineering

Since the emergence of biomedical engineering as a distinct branch of study in the field of engineering, there has been the question of whether ethics is an important component of this unique discipline. Opinion is plenty and varied, but it is my consideration that indeed ethics is an important component of undergraduate biomedical engineering education.

I share this view because of various reasons. To begin with, it must not be forgotten that biomedical engineering education is tailored to apply the underlying principles of engineering in the realms of both biology and healthcare with the aim of promoting the general understanding and usefulness of the body of knowledge in the three fields. Therefore, unlike the field of engineering which may not study the wellness of individuals directly, biomedical engineering is a people centered area of study. Therefore, knowledge of ethics is crucial since biomedical engineering delves into human issues through its incorporation of biology and healthcare.

Medical engineering is particularly interested with the improvement of diagnosis and monitoring of ailments so as to improve healthcare delivery to a greater number of individuals. It is no secret that for healthcare delivery to be improved, proper diagnosis of diseases is absolutely necessary. Therefore, the ethics implications of improper diagnosis must be considered at every stage, hence biomedical engineering cannot in essence avoid an examination of ethical and moral issues. Besides, biomedical engineering involves the study of therapy, a task which requires that students master required ethical principles, since therapy may necessarily require going beyond scientific questioning in to philosophical.

Much of the work to be undertaken in biomedical engineering involves research into better and more advanced ways of detecting, diagnosing, monitoring and treating diseases (Brown and Dickson 238). This creates the need for strict observance of ethical considerations in research. While undertaking research in these fields, a biomedical engineering research must avoid doing research that is immoral and unethical. For instance, in the case that a study will involve test subject and volunteers, the inherent risks of volunteering as a test subject must be communicated clearly to those involved. Test subjects and specimens must be treated with