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Internet – Ethics of Online Medical Records

The Ethics of Online Medical Records

Abstract: This paper describes the ethical implications of developing a national online medical database. Such a database would contain the lifetime health records of every U.S. resident by combining information from a variety of sources. The advantages of such a system are many, but in the end, the question remains whether patients want to trade privacy for better healthcare.

A lonely ninety-year-old Chinese woman walks into a clinic. Without any medical records, the physicians diagnose her with stroke, and she is immediately hospitalized. Two days later, her son arrives at the hospital, apparently quite angry with the doctors. He informs the physicians that her mother has been in this condition for many years, and should not be treated for stroke. Unfortunately, the treatment has already started, and the son is billed $12,000 for two days of hospitalization. This unfortunate incident was witnessed by Jennifer Danek, M.D. in a San Francisco hospital. She concludes, “Had we gotten the correct history, we could have saved this woman a lot of unnecessary testing and not cost her son his whole life savings” [3].

How ironic that in today’s so-called Information Age, physicians have a shortage of accessible information on their own patients! This lack of information on patients has not only handicapped physicians, but also jeopardized the lives of their patients. In an attempt to fix this problem, some physicians have proposed the creation of a national database that contains the medical records of every American resident [4]. While the benefits of this system are many, opponents argue that patients’ privacy may be compromised. Worse, confidential pati…

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…logy Revolution Brings New Ethical and Legal Risks.” Psychiatric News (2000): 26 pars. 26 Jan. 2001. .

2. Chapman, Audrey. Healthcare and Information Ethics. Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1997.

3. Danek, Jennifer, M.D., The Med School Survival Guide. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.

4. Davis, Michael. Computerizing Healthcare Information. Chicago: Probus Publishing Company, 1994.

5. Orentlicher, David and Barr, Bob. “Is a ‘unique health identifier’ for every American a good idea?”42 pars. 26 Jan 2001. .

6. Orentlicher, David. and Healy, Bernadine. “Point/Counterpoint: Should Americans’ medical records include unique identifiers?” Physician’s Weekly, Nov. 1998 Vol. XV: 43.

The Heated Debate Concerning Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research

The topic of stem cell research does not affect me so much at the moment. It might in the future, but for now it does not. I do believe that stem cell research should be used for cloning organs that will be used for organ transplants. I do not however think that parents should place the doctors on pedestals just because these “mad scientists” supposedly have the power of God.

The topic of heated debate does intrigue me, but not to the point as to where I would make a career of it. I think that stem cell research is a really great idea because it saves people’s lives. After hearing both sides of debates I have to say the research being done is good because of the progress and the advances it can bring to the medical community.

In the articles I have read on this very controversial debate on whether stem cells should be destroyed or used for experimentation, human cloning and embryonic research are intertwined within these articles. Other things to consider as to why these issues are so controversial, are because most of the subjects are done only by one person, God. Society wants to believe that God created life, why do you think God would do that? The answer is never going to be spoken because no one is for sure.

Genetic engineering also makes an appearance in one article. This is used to change the DNA in human gene cells. For example, scientists started off by experimenting on plants. This cause a slew of riots, protests and angr…

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