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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.26 SNIP: 0.375 CiteScore™: 1.4

ISSN Imprimer: 0278-940X
ISSN En ligne: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v28.i34.280
pages 517-521

Ethical Considerations for Biomedical Scientists and Engineers: Issues for the Rank and File

Kofi B. Kwarteng
Stryker Howmedica Osteonics, 59 Route 175, Allendale, NJ 07401


Biomedical science and engineering is inextricably linked with the fields of medicine and surgery. Yet, while physicians and surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals receive instruction in ethics during their training and must abide by certain codes of ethics during their practice, those engaged in biomedical science and engineering typically receive no formal training in ethics. In fact, the little contact that many biomedical science and engineering professionals have with ethics occurs either when they participate in government-funded research or submit articles for publication in certain journals. Thus, there is a need for biomedical scientists and engineers as a group to become more aware of ethics.
Moreover, recent advances in biomedical technology and the ever-increasing use of new devices virtually guarantee that biomedical science and engineering will become even more important in the future. Although they are rarely in direct contact with patients, biomedical scientists and engineers must become aware of ethics in order to be able to deal with the complex ethical issues that arise from our society's increasing reliance on biomedical technology.
In this brief communication, the need for ethical awareness among workers in biomedical science and engineering is discussed in terms of certain conflicts that arise in the workaday world of the biomedical scientist in a complex, modern society. It is also recognized that inasmuch as workers in the many branches of bioengineering are not regulated like their counterparts in medicine and surgery, perhaps academic institutions and professional societies are best equipped to heighten ethical awareness among workers in this important field.

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