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A Critical Analysis of Ethical Issues in Medical Devices and Instruments


Modern medicine has medical devices and instruments that have improved the quality of life by mitigating disease spread, curing illnesses, and sustaining life processes from critical medical conditions. With the influx of technological innovations, medical institutions are equipped with an even more complex and precise variety of instruments and devices. Surgical instruments such as scissors and forceps have made such medical processes effective and efficient. Moreover, hypodermic needles and syringes are used to inject medication into patients. Therefore, with the help of medical instruments and devices, health facilities have managed mortality rates and significantly contributed to human well-being. However, the application of medical issues in health provision has exposed the field of medicine to ethical dilemmas, especially about malpractice. This essay analyses the ethical concern in medical institutions regarding medical devices and instruments, the challenges faced by medical engineers, and why there is a need for improvement in the medical field.

Ethical Concerns of Medical Devices and Instrumental

In the face of morality, medical practices are often called to question by society, where certain practices are dimed wrong regarding existing moral standards. Therefore, the ideas of environmental ethics, religious beliefs, public laws, and other organizations have kept an eye on the ethicality of medical practices. For instance, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) outlines a data privacy policy to govern the use of patient medical information, which ensures health providers stay accountable in their practices (HIPAA for professionals,, n.d.). The main ethical concerns concerning medical devices and instruments are patient autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence. Healy et al.. (2021) define justice as medical workers promoting equity by fighting discrimination in the distribution of health resources, patient autonomy as freedom for patients to make an uncoerced decision concerning their medical provisions process, beneficence as doing good by acting in the patient’s best interest and non-maleficence as medical providers not harm patients.

Regarding patient autonomy, patients have the right to privacy and patient competence. However, at times these rights get violated while using medical devices, leading to hospitals facing ethical concerns. For instance, according to Bedard et al.. (2014), a survey was done on the ethicality of health providers participating in surgery using the Healthcare Provider Cost Reporting Information Systems (HCRIs). From the results, a section of the subjects reported excessive involvement of HCRIs, and others were concerned about the competence of the surgeons. When health providers are unsure or have questionable competence profiles, mistakes are bound to occur since surgeons could use medical devices improperly. Moreover, concerning patients’ privacy and confidentiality, Bani Issa et al.. (2020) implies that the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) models such as Electronic Health Record (EHR) in a medical institution does not fully protect patients’ privacy since the system was accessible to unauthorized people.

Despite hospitals pledging to be just in medical provision, practically the sense of equity has not been archived since resources are distributed and accessible depending on the patient’s financial status. Furthermore, no know frameworks can be used to follow up if a medical officer is just, which makes justice an arbitrary quality. On the other side, beneficence and non-maleficence promote patients’ well-being by ensuring that health practitioners do good and do not harm patients. However, according to (Euthanasia, assisted suicide, and non-resuscitation on request, n.d.), practices such as physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are being debated on whether to be legalized, which has already happened in some countries across the globe. Unfortunately, since medical institutions are primarily made to save lives, offering patients lethal injections in the name of medically assisted suicide contradicts their mission. It might lead to a loss of trust in medical institutions from the public. Moreover, the issue with euthanasia overrides the moral ethics principle of beneficence and non-maleficence since suicide is not doing the patients any good but doing them all the harm.

Challenges Faced by Medical Engineers and the Need to Improve

The ethical concerns geared toward using medical devices and instruments offer insights into what medicine needs to improve to enhance the quality of life. According to World Health Organization. (2017), medical engineers are participants in the global agenda of sustainable development goals, which aims to ensure everyone across the globe has access to quality healthcare. In medicine, since the goal is to attain universal health coverage, the application of medical devices is indispensable. However, the most common challenges in medicine regarding the use of medical devices are safeguarding patients’ privacy, safety and maintenance of medical devices and instruments at workplaces, and accountability.

The demand to improve in the medical field is brought about by technological innovations such as AI, which have made other institutions digitize their operations which pressure the medical sector to outsource new technology to integrate into medical institutions. Moreover, malpractice cases have often led medical institutions to unnecessary lawsuits, which pressures them to improve their services and products. Fortunately, there are solutions for the challenges facing medical engineers and to satisfy the need for improvement in medicine. Yazbek, A. (2023) asserts that firewalls are a vital aspect of a company’s network security since they prevent intrusion of unauthorized persons by detecting unusual behavior and alerting the company or blocking the intruder.

Since technological innovations have encouraged the storage and processing of medical information online, I recommend a Microsoft Azure firewall for medical institutions to protect EHR systems from hackers. Keeping medical information away from unauthorized individuals who are malicious is one step towards ensuring patients’ privacy and safety are kept in the right place. Moreover, ensuring patient data protection keeps the institution in line with HIPAA regulations and unentangled in lawsuits due to violation of patient privacy. In conclusion, ethical concerns are a way of looking at medical practices from a moral lens rather than a scientific perspective. From this essay, it is clear that the effects of technology and the use of medical devices often arise from a need for more clearly outlined guidelines. In the case where there are guidelines, they should be considered. Considering and following individuals’ intuition and taking ethical practice as a personal responsibility is essential if medical institutions want to see a field free from malpractices, avoidable mistakes, and improved well-being in general.


Healy, C. M., Savas, L. S., Shegog, R., Lunstroth, R., & Vernon, S. W. (2022). Medical ethics principles underscore advocating for the human papillomavirus vaccine. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 18(1), 1989926.

Bedard, J., Moore, C. D., & Shelton, W. (2014). A survey of healthcare industry representatives’ participation in surgery: some new ethical concerns. The Journal of clinical ethics, 25(3), 238–244.

HIPAA for professionals,, (no date). Available at: (Accessed: April 25, 2023).

Bani Issa, W., Al Akour, I., Ibrahim, A., Almarzouqi, A., Abbas, S., Hisham, F., & Griffiths, J. (2020). Privacy, confidentiality, security, and patient safety concerns about electronic health records. International nursing review, 67(2), 218–230.

Euthanasia assisted suicide, and non-resuscitation on request (no date). Euthanasia | Ministerie van Algemene Zaken. Available at: (Accessed: April 26, 2023).

World Health Organization. (2017). Human resources for medical devices: the role of biomedical engineers. World Health Organization.

Yazbek, A. (2023). Hackers and Their Companion Viruses Are An Increasing Problem, Especially on the Internet. What Are the Most Important Measurers for a Firm to Take to Protect Itself from This? Is Full Protection Feasible? Why or Why Not?. What Are the Most Important Measurers for a Firm to Take to Protect Itself from This?


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