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Biomedical Engineering Ethics

This is a bibliography of Ethics Centers journals, and other resources dealing with bioethics, and a series of articles discussing various ethical issues that specifically relate to the field of biomedical engineering.


Bioethics Resources on the Web, from the National Insitutes of Health

Centers & Professional Societies

Biomedical Engineering Society: the professional society for biomedical engineers. See also the BMES Code of Ethics.

The Hastings Center : Founded in 1969, this research institute is one of the premier bioethics centers in the country. The website includes links to numerous publications by the Center such as the Hastings Center Report, descriptions of recent research projects, and expert commentary on a wide variety of bioethics-related topics.

Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University: This institute is one of the oldest and most comprehensive academic bioethics centers in the world. Of special note is its library, which maintains the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature, and includes a comprehensive database of bioethics materials searchable by topic.

Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University: This Center focuses on interdisciplinary research and education in biomedical ethics, and provides clinical and research ethics consultation. The web site includes links to publications by Center fellows, as well as an extensive collection of links to further resources that relate to current and past research programs.

American Medical Association: the main association for individuals in the medical field. Includes the following programs and web resources.

(Please note: If you are a member of the IIT Community, you can access the full-text of these journals by going here and typing in the journal name.)

American Journal of Bioethics: available through Galvin Library's online databases.

Bioethics: journal of the International Association of Bioethics. Available through Galvin Library's online databases.

BMC Medical Ethics: Published by Biomed Central, this is an open-access journal.

Hastings Center Report: publication of the Hastings Center. Print copies available at CSEP Library, also available through Galvin Library's online databases

The Journal of Medical Humanities and Bioethics: available through Galvin Library's online databases.

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal: Print copies available at CSEP Library, also available through Galvin Library's online databases.


Syllabus Exchange Database, from the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature (Georgetown/Kennedy Institute of Ethics). Can order syllabi for $3 each.

Ethics and Public Health: Model Curriculum, organized by modules, from the Association of Schools of Public Health

Other Resources:

Medical Codes of Ethics, in CSEP's Codes of Ethics Collection.

Bibliography of articles on the Ethics of Bomedical Engineering

Abreu, Eduardo L. et al. "Development of a program model to evaluate the potential for reuse of single-use medical devices: Results of a pilot test study". Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology 36.6 (Nov.- Dec. 2002): 389-404

Abstract from the Compendex database: Single-use medical devices (SUDs, or disposables) have become a major expense in hospital budgets. The need for cost reduction and the availability of sterilization technologies other than the autoclave have prompted hospitals worldwide to begin reusing disposables, in many cases without proper assessment of the true costs (time, personnel, etc) and ease/difficulty of implementation of an institutional reuse program. Our group has developed a rigorous program model to evaluate SUDs for reuse. The program comprises 3 sequential protocols: (1) device audit, (2) laboratory evaluation, and (3) clinical evaluation. Use of this model can produce scientific and financial data sufficient for any institution interested in reuse to reach an initial decision about its feasibility. In addition to the testing outcomes, regulatory requirements, the position of manufacturers and third-party reprocessors, and legal and ethical concerns must be considered. A successful reuse program must include ongoing evaluations to ensure that the safety levels and cost savings established during the initial audit and evaluation phases continue. Herein, we give the rationale and details of our program model and discuss results of our pilot application of the "ideal" protocol in a real-world context.

Black, J. "Thinking Twice about 'Tissue Engineering'".IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Magazine 16.4 (Jul.-Aug. 1997): 102-4.

Black, M. M. and C. Riley. "Moral Issues and Priorities in Biomedical Engineering". Science Medicine and Man. 1.1. (Apr. 1973): 67-74.

Bledsoe, J. Gary. "Ethical discussions in an undergraduate tissue engineering course". Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 24th Annual Conference and the 2002 Fall Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES / EMBS), Oct 23-26 2002, Houston, TX. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings 3 (2002): 2672-2673

Abstract from Compendex: In a Tissue Engineering (TE) course, a discussion of ethics can provide a unique insight for the student. At Saint Louis University, ethics is part of the core curriculum, and in the TE course we take advantage of the student's prior exposure to ethics to discuss issues arising in TE and medicine in general. Because of their previous exposure to ethical theory, most students can discuss ethics from a variety of perspectives including deontological, utilitarian, natural law, and theological perspectives. The intended outcome of the discussions is the establishment of a set of ethical guidelines applicable to the course project.

Brennan, Mark G. and Mark A. Tooley. "Ethics and the Biomedical Engineer".Engineering Science and Education Journal 9.1 (Feb. 2000): 5-7.

Abstract from Compendex: As we enter the new millennium, it seems appropriate to consider the future of engineering and education. This paper focuses on the need to incorporate ethics into everyday practice for all engineers, using biomedical engineering as an example throughout. The authors make the case that engineers need to be introduced to ethics from day one of their lifelong learning.

Brody, Eugene. Biomedical Technology and Human Rights. Aldershot, England: UNESCO, 1993.

Bronzino, Joseph D., Ellen J. Flannery, and Maurice Wade. "Legal and Ethical Issues in the Regulation and Development of Engineering Achievements in Medical Technology - Part I". IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 9.1 (Mar. 1990): 79-81.

Abstract from Compendex/full-text in IEEE database through Galvin: The statutory and regulatory requirements governing medical device development and approval are reviewed. Some of the procedures that the US Food and Drug Administration has implemented to loosen the strictures that impede development and approval of new medical devices are discussed. Some of the ethical issues associated with these procedures are examined.

---. "Legal and Ethical Issues in the Regulation and Development of Engineering Achievements in Medical Technology - Part II". IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 9.2 (Jun. 1990): 53-57.

Abstract from Compendex/full-text in IEEE through Galvin: For Pt. I see ibid., vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 79-81 (1990). The ethical issues raised by the fact that patients/subjects are less protected in non-investigational-device-exemption (non-IDE) use of unapproved medical devices than in IDE use are examined. Practice, research, and nonvalidated practice, an intervention that falls into the region between pure practice and pure research, are defined and examined with respect to non-IDE use of unapproved medical devices. Two types of non-IDE use are considered: that which would be permitted under the feasibility studies mechanism, and emergency use. Ethical issues in both cases are discussed. It is concluded that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must not only expand the freedom of scientific investigators to develop new medical devices, allowing flexibility in defined non-IDE contexts that will not jeopardize the safety or welfare of patients, but also clearly and concisely define the procedures which outline this expanded freedom.

Casada, Mark E. and James A. DeShazer. "Teaching Professionalism, Design, & Communications to Engineering Freshmen". ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, v 1, "Investing in the Future" (1995):1381-1386.

Abstract from Compendex: A new course was developed to introduce biological systems engineering and agricultural engineering freshmen to professional ethics, engineering design, and technical communication. Using guided design and the 'Seven Habits' as a base, the new course integrated these foundational topics using group and individual assignments. Presentations from practicing engineers reinforced these topics and provided the students with a look at several career opportunities in agricultural and biological engineering. The integration of these topics was effective, although the students considered the workload to be heavy for a two credit (semester) course.

Cram, Nicholas, John Wheeler, and Charles S. Lessard. "Ethical Issues of Life-sustaining Technology". IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 14.1 (Spring 1995): 21-28.

Abstract from Compendex/full-text from IEEE from Galvin: The ethical issues relating to life sustaining treatment administered to patients who are, in many instances, unlikely to benefit from the medical intervention are discussed. Health care organizations are attempting to guide treatment decisions by providing physicians and patients with thorough information about the efficacy of technologies. Rigorous technology assessment presents conflicts with society's eagerness for new medical technologies and hospitals' desire for profits and a competitive edge. It is suggested that in order for these technologies to have a positive influence on the current technology cycle, bioengineers must consider the long-range implications of an invention before placing it at the disposal of a technology hungry society.

Daniels, A.U. "Ethics Education at the Engineering/Medicine Interface". Journal of Investigative Surgery 5.3 (Jul.-Sep. 1992): 209-18.

Abstract from PubMed: There is a functioning interface between engineering and medicine. There are also wide-spread indications in the scientific community that there is increased concern for ethical matters in science and that the time has arrived for more instruction in this area. One reason for this in bioengineering is the rapidly growing complexity of technology in both engineering and medical biology. The ensuing difficulty in communication cannot be remedied just with more technical information. Instead bioengineers need an improved understanding of medical education and practice, and medical ethics is fundamental to this. Ethical considerations are crucial to decision making and therefore to all areas of professional endeavor in bioengineering. As a framework for ethics education, bioengineers need to gain a better understanding both of medical education in general and of medical practice, particularly the case study method in education and the nature of decision making in medical practice. Key subject areas in medical ethics for bioengineers include rights and duties of physicians, determination of death, team ethics, patient privacy and informed consent, research ethics, and malpractice. An ethics curriculum for bioengineers should be taught using both informal but regular exposure to clinical activities and clinicians, and formal classroom work. In the medical ethics classroom setting, writing assignments are essential to provoke each student to the introspection and commitment needed to form a personal professional ethos.

Davis, Michael. "Codes of Ethics, Professions, and Conflict of Interest: A Case Study of an Emerging Profession, Clinical Engineering". Professional Ethics 1.1-2 (Spring-Summer 1992):179-95.

Eaton, Margaret. Ethics and the Business of Bioscience. Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books, 2004.

Fielder, J.H. "The Bioengineer's Obligations to Patients". Journal of Investigative Surgery 5.3 (Sep. 1992): 201-8.

---. "Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering: The Bjork-Shiley Heart Valve".IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Magazine 10.1 (Mar. 1991): 76-8.

---. "Ethics and Professional Responsibility". IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Magazine 18.4 (Jul.-Aug. 1999): 116-7.

Golnik, Natalia and Tadeusz Palko. "Remarks on Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering". Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 24th Annual Conference and the 2002 Fall Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES / EMBS), Oct 23-26 2002, Houston, TX. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings v. 3 (2002)..

Abstract from Compendex: Education on medical physics and biomedical engineering has a long tradition in Poland, where the first academic course of medical engineering in the world started in 1946. Our students have several occasions to learn about tradition of the Radium Institute in Warsaw and the role played by Madame Curie, who was admired also for her ethical approach to science. The paper focuses on two "hot" ethical points of student seminars and discussions - a conflict of social needs with economy and ethical problems of radiation protection.

Grundfest, Warren S. and Andrea K. Scott. "Ethical Issues in the Development of Medical Devices: The Role of Education and Training in the Evaluation of Safety and Efficacy". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 26.5-6 (1998): 378.

Abstract from Compendex: For safe and effective application of new medical technologies, engineers must make basic assumptions about the skill and level of training of the device users, physicians. Determining the level of training and education required for proper and safe introduction of new medical devices often presents a dilemma for device developers. Successful and safe introduction of new technologies requires that engineers understand both the risks and benefits of the devices they design and the impact of operator skill and education on device efficacy and patient safety. Numerous studies in the literature unequivocally prove that both safety and efficacy improve as a physician's training prior to the use of a new medical device plays a major role in the safe and effective application of new high and moderate risk medical devices. Examples from the literature in fields as diverse as laparoscopy, balloon angioplasty and minimally invasive CABG surgery show that a combination of careful device design coupled with aggressive training programs improve and accelerate successful introduction and use of new technologies. Similarly, both the medical literature and legal case law demonstrate that failure by engineers and device manufacturers to specify proper levels of training education combined with lack of willingness to support training often leads to unnecessary complications, patient deaths and unnecessary costs. While training and education may appear expensive, they are in fact cost effective in the process of device development precisely because they improve safety and permit more rapid effective introduction of new devices.

Guilbeau, Eric J. and Vincent B. Pizziconi. "Increasing Student Awareness of Ethical, Social, Legal, and Economic Implications of Technology". Journal of Engineering Education 87.1 (Jan. 1998): 35-44.

Abstract from Compendex: The accreditation criteria for engineering programs require that the curriculum introduce students to the ethical, social, economic and safety issues arising from the practice of engineering. Graduates must also demonstrate competence in written and oral communication skills. This paper describes a bioengineering course we developed at Arizona State University to satisfy these criteria and also meet the literacy and critical inquiry requirement of the university. The primary goal of the course is to increase the students' awareness of the global `societal' issues arising from the development and use of bioengineering technology. Secondary goals include improvement of skills in literacy and critical inquiry, oral communication, and teaming. We use cooperative learning to ensure student participation, creative controversy to stimulate interest in the topics being discussed, and TQM tools to enhance team performance. This paper describes the course content, its organization and structure, the methods used to assess student performance, and the strategies we use to facilitate learning. We also discuss how students have reacted to the course and our experiences in delivering the course.

Heller, J.C. "Beyond a Code of Ethics for Bioengineers: The Role of Ethics in an Integrated Compliance Program". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering28.3-4 (2000): 507-11.

Abstract from PubMed: Developing a code of ethics for biomedical engineering professionals is a very important first step in clarifying their professional obligations and in helping to establish and maintain their professional autonomy. However, it is only that--a first step. Unless ways can be found to bring the principles contained in this code to bear on the everyday decision making of these professionals, this code will have little practical influence. One effective way to bring a code of ethics to bear on decision making is to integrate it into organizational compliance programs. Such programs often have company-specific codes of ethics attached to them, and these company-specific codes can either include the principles contained in the professional code of ethics or reference the code by title. After defining what I take to be the challenge of compliance, I consider four (4) roles that codes of ethics and ethics generally can play in helping to create and sustain programs at the organizational level that integrate ethics and compliance and thereby aim to make a practical difference in the everyday decision making of bioengineering professionals. These four roles include: framing the program, grounding the standards, achieving critical distance, and creating and sustaining an ethical organizational culture.

Katzir E. "XII International Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and V International Conference on Medical Physics. Ethical problems facing the bioengineer and medical technologist today". Medical Progress through Technology 7.2-3 (Jun 1980): 59-62.

Kwarteng, K.B. "Ethical Considerations for Biomedical Scientists and Engineers: Issues for the Rank and File". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 28. 3-4 (2000): 517-21.

Abstract from PubMed: 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.

Napper, S.A. and P.N. Hale. "Teaching of Ethics in Biomedical Engineering".IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Magazine 12.4 (Dec. 1993): 100-5.

Naser, C.R. "What is Life, and What is a Machine? The Ontology of Bioengineering". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 28.3-4 (2000):545-50.

Abstract from PubMed: In his Keynote address to the First Conference at Clemson University on Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering, George Bugliarello suggested that a most important ethical issue for bioengineering "is the positioning of the bio-machine interface." "Where," he asked, "should the biological organism end and the machine begin?" Central to this question of the limits of life and engineering is the more fundamental question of how life differs and how it is similar to a machine. This paper argues that until very recently, science, by its very nature, has treated life as if it were a machine, or has treated the parts of living systems as if they were machines. The distinctive feature of a machine is that its behavior is linear and hence predictable. On the other hand, living organisms may not be linear, but rather nonlinear systems. Thus, the interface between organism and machine may be conceived as the interface between nonlinear and linear systems.

Naurato, N. and T.J. Smith. "Ethical Considerations in Bioengineering Research". Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation 39 (2003): 573-8.

Abstract from PubMed: Biomedical science and engineering have made rapid advancements in the field of medicine over the past few decades. New ethical problems arising from this technology are influencing biomedical research more and more. It is disturbing that bioengineering professionals have had relatively little contact with moral and legal theory in light of these developments and particularly since they represent the forefront of new medical innovations. The objective of this communication is to introduce the study of bioethics and the use of principlism when examining bioengineering problems and dilemmas. Specific examples derived from actual proceedings, such as the Baltimore case, will alert scientists to the importance of misconduct in academic society. Cases will be used to illustrate how tools learned in this presentation are applied to analyze bioethical issues. New technology has a large social impact and is setting the standard of care for treatment. The health care system continually relies on researchers to produce improvements in patient therapy. Society will increasingly expect scientists to be morally responsible for the research they perform and uphold those virtues that ensure good ethical conduct.

Pienkowski, D. "The Need for a Professional Code of Ethics in Biomedical Engineering: A Lesson from History". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering28.3-4 (2000): 513-6.

"Proceedings of the 18th Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference and the 2nd International Conference on Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering. Clemson, South Carolina, USA. May 21-23, 1999". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 28.3-4 (2000): 349-665.

Saha, Subrata. “Ethical Questions in Biomedical Engineering Research”.Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 12.5 (1990): 1981-82.

---. "Teaching Bioethics for Biomedical Engineering Students: A Case Studies Approach". Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 24th Annual Conference and the 2002 Fall Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES / EMBS), Oct 23-26 2002, Houston, TX. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings v. 3 (2002): 2602.

Abstract from Compendex: Students graduating from a biomedical engineering curriculum should be well grounded in the principles of ethics and its applications in their future professional work. Unlike traditional engineering students, a biomedical engineer often works with physicians, dentists and other health care professionals. Such engineers also work as a part of a team with direct responsibility for patient care. Thus biomedical engineering students need to be familiar with ethical issues such as clinical trials for medical devices, animal testing, conflict of interest, genetic engineering and testing, and allocation of scarce resources. Teaching of such topics are often facilitated by the use of case studies illustrating the ethical conflicts that often one faces during the biomedical engineering practices. Examples of using such case studies for teaching a course on ethics for Biomedical Engineers will be presented.

Saha, Subrata and Pamela Saha. "Biomedical Ethics and the Biomedical Engineer: A Review". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 25.2 (1997): 163-201.

Abstract from PubMed: Biomedical engineering is responsible for many of the dramatic advances in modern medicine. This has resulted in improved medical care and better quality of life for patients. However, biomedical technology has also contributed to new ethical dilemmas and has challenged some of our moral values. Bioengineers often lack adequate training in facing these moral and ethical problems. These include conflicts of interest, allocation of scarce resources, research misconduct, animal experimentation, and clinical trials for new medical devices. This paper is a compilation of our previous published papers on these topics, and it summarizes many complex ethical issues that a bioengineer may face during his or her research career or professional practice. The need for ethics training in the education of a bioengineering student is emphasized. We also advocate the adoption of a code of ethics for bioengineers.

---. "Biomedical Research: Some Ethical Challenges". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 26.5-6 (1998): 380.

Abstract from Compendex: The evaluation of ethical conflicts that may be associated with industry and university relationships, the question of authorship in biomedical publications, and patenting of biomedical devices and medical procedures, is reported. Several case studies showing examples of ethical dilemmas associated with these aspects of biomedical research are detailed.

---. "Ethical Responsibilities of the Clinical Engineer". Journal of Clinical Engineering 11.1 (Jan.-Feb. 1986): 17-25.

Abstract from PubMed: Because of the growth of medical technology, Clinical Engineers have increased responsibilities in respect to this new technology and so to modern medicine itself. This results in a need to ensure that an ethical consciousness of responsibilities to patients, physicians, and institutions grows within Clinical Engineers as they move into evermore important roles within the health care system. Clinical Engineers must have clearly defined roles, as well as authority acknowledged and supported by other health care professionals. Most importantly, Clinical Engineers themselves must recognize the seriousness of their professional responsibilities as they contribute to the maintenance of equipment, use and design instrumentation, and fulfill roles in administration, management, and research. As members of the health care team, Clinical Engineers must be prepared to face ethical issues arising from defective or inadequate equipment, hazards and incidents, scarcity and resources, conflict of interest, confidentiality, clinical research, "truth-telling," and care of the terminally ill.

---. “Introduction of New Medical Technologies: An International and Ethical Perspective”. Proceedings of the 20th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 20.6 (1998): 3357-58.

Satris, S. "Ethical Consciousness in Bioengineering". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 25.2 (1997): 151-61.

Abstract from PubMed: The role of ordinary language in expressing personal views and attitudes is a familiar one. Ordinary language can express attitudes, social demands or expectations, and moral judgments. In all these cases ordinary language has what I call practical import. Even the use of ordinary language to provide characterizations of people and interpretations of social situations can express attitudes and can imply moral judgments. Practical import is to be contrasted with theoretical import, which is mainly focused on facts and beliefs about facts. In some ways a scientific and professional education threatens to eliminate the connections between language and personal attitudes and between language and moral judgments, especially insofar as science aspires to be "detached" and morally neutral. Scientific ways of thinking and speaking tend to overlook the practical import of language and to concentrate on theoretical import alone. Professional codes of ethics and principles of ethical conduct can be helpful in counteracting this. But the general statements of codes, if they are not to degenerate into empty tautologies and pious truisms, must be understood in terms of particular cases. Finally, a brief look at some recent contributions of linguistics shows again the importance of attention to particulars. Ethical consciousness, having begun to arise even before professional education, is fostered among professionals through the use of professional codes of ethics, especially when these are understood in terms of paradigms and specific cases rather than merely general principles. The code requires professionals to use their powers of ethical judgment, not to surrender them.

Schwartz, Lewis B. "The Dilemma of Bioengineering Research on Human Subjects". Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 24th Annual Conference and the 2002 Fall Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES / EMBS), Oct 23-26 2002, Houston, TX. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings v. 3 (2002): 2668-2669.

Abstract from Compendex/Full-text IEEE through Galvin: A close look at human subject research indicates that there are fundamental differences in the way that standards are generated for clinical medicine, bioengineering research, and human subject research. The standards for both clinical medicine and research have generally been set by the practitioners and scientists through peer review. For human subject research, the standards are rightfully set by agencies of the international community and federal government and strict adherence is mandated by law. Whether or not the rigid ethical standards can ever reasonably be relaxed depends on the commitment of the scientific community to the consistent performance of human subject research with vigilant respect for persons, beneficence, and justice.

Scott, Andrea K. "Conflicts of Interest and the Clinical Engineer". Proceedings of the 15th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Oct 28-31 1993, San Diego, CA. Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology v. 15, n pt 2 (1993): 687-688.

Abstract from Compendex/Full-text in IEEE through Galvin: Clinical engineers should be aware of the heightened public concern and legal scrutiny regarding conflicts of interest which increasingly arise between members of the medical community, private industry and sources of federal funding. Such conflicts appear whenever medical scientists hold a vested interest in the success and sale of a biomedical product they have developed or upon which they have performed research. Conflicts of interest most commonly appear when scientists serve as consultants, stockholders, board members, officers or investors to corporations, partnerships and joint ventures for which they perform research and from which they receive funding for any purpose. In order to forestall further abused of the public interest and minimize the intrusion of litigation into this arena of biomedical technology, clearly drawn guidelines or codes of ethics should be promulgated by universities, professional associations, research institutions and private industry.

Stirrat, G.M. "Education in Ethics". Clinics in Perinatology 30.1 (March 2003):1-15.

Abstract from PubMed: Ethics is the system of thought that analyzes moral judgments. Among the key features of ethics are: (1) it must be translatable into moral action; (2) it is a public system rather than a private activity, and no one can act morally without reference to other individuals; and (3) the fundamental ethical principles underpinning medical ethics are those of society in general. Among the purposes of education in ethics are the development of consistent, critical, and reflective attitudes to ethical decision-making; increasing awareness of ethical dilemmas in one's own practice and that of others; and reinforcement of best practices in clinical and research governance.

Thoma, H. "Some Aspects of Medical Ethics from the Perspective of Bioengineering". Theoretical Medicine 7.3 (Oct. 1986): 305-17.

Wueste, Daniel E. "Professions, Professional Ethics, and Bioengineering".Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 25.2 (1997): 127-49.

Abstract from PubMed: The distinguishing features of professions, professionalization, and the institutionalization of expertise are discussed. Drawing on this discussion, a composite picture of a profession is developed. Using that composite picture, the question whether bioengineering is a profession is raised and answered affirmatively; the implications of that answer are explored. The institutional aspects and problems of contemporary professional practice receive special attention. It is argued that undertaking the task of constructing ethical structures of practice is itself an obligation of professional ethics. An approach that can be employed in that undertaking and, then, with one difference that is explained, used in making individual ethical decisions in one's capacity as a professional is suggested and defended. A key element in that defense is the fact that the approach squarely faces and successfully deals with what one writer calls the problems of knowledge and interest.

---. "Wrongdoing in Biomedical Research: An Ethical Diagnosis and Prescription". Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 26.5-6 (1998): 378-380.

Abstract from Compendex: At present, a social and ethical sea change is taking place in both science and medicine. This situation suggests that the role responsibilities of individual researchers engaged in the enterprise of biomedical science are not properly understood. What is indicated here is not additional government regulation or oversight, but development and application of a professional ethic.

Last modified on July 20, 2009.