Medical technology in today’s society is often seen as a treatment or cure for human health issues. The term medical technology refers to the diagnostic or therapeutic application of science to improve the management of health. Unfortunately, the negative impacts of this technology are often left unexposed to the public until too late. Medicine, such as drugs, is often perceived to be of benefit to humans as it is used to cure various diseases. On the other hand, medicine can also be highly damaging. Using medicine incorrectly; consuming it in small dosages, in excess, or using it abusively; can be injurious to peoples’ health.
Modern medical technology can also be damaging for human well-being but this effect is not restricted to health. Throughout time people have become increasingly reliant on modern medicine. This is especially so in today’s modern society. Medical intervention by use of technology has been able to help prolong many lives. An example of this is those who suffer from asthma. These sufferers may use air purifiers and/or nebulizers along with prescribed medication to help them live more comfortable and longer lives. It can be deemed a miracle that we are able to help so many people overcome their illnesses with medical technology.
The current technologies available are able to do incredible things but people must be constantly aware of other modern technologies that can interfere and put the patient at risk. An example of this is the pacemaker which has the ability to save a person’s life and ultimately extend it. However, external factors can interfere with medical technology and ultimately put the patient at risk. For example, radiation from everyday items such as microwaves to wireless devices such as mobile phones can affect the operation of the pace maker.
Thus medical technology has a negative impact on the user of this device as it places environmental limitations on where he or she can go. Users of such a device therefore need to be continuously wary of their environment. In addition, the implementation of a pace maker prevents users from undertaking MRI scans as the process interferes with the function of the device. This is a prime example of medicine acting against itself, All medical technology needs to be treated and used with caution. Respirators need to be constant monitored and the same applies for the simplest drips.
Hospitals nowadays are equipped with technology that requires the operating knowledge of hospital staff and medical professionals. The medical technology that is used in hospitals needs to be carefully monitored. Misuse could lead to an accident that has the possibility to cause a long term negative effect for the patient. It is due to the above reason that today, proficient clinical settings require the consistent expertise of all medical staff in relation to the operation of medical technology.
Medical technology was invented for our health and well being. However there is always the risk of unforeseen consequences. An example of this is LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) eye surgery, an operation where a patient has his or her vision corrected. Eyesight clinics advertised that the operation would improve a person’s vision and give freedom to those who did not like wearing glasses or contacts all the time. Before user a laser to correct the vision the operation required the practitioner to cut open the patient’s corner.
During the trial stages of the operation, this procedure led to several unsuccessful results where the patients suffered from extremely dry eyes, milky vision and poorer eyesight than prior to the operation. Other disastrous results included foggy visions, starbursts around lights and double vision. These after effects negatively impacted the lives of the patients greatly as they now had worse vision than prior to the operation. However, it is thanks to researchers that the medical technology in this field has advanced to a level where the risks are now minimal.
These professionals are currently working on a new method of corrective eye surgery where it will not be necessary to cut open the cornea before lasik surgery is used. There will be even less of a chance that things will go wrong if the answer to this problem is found. The Gamma Ray, used to eliminate cancerous cells around the brain without the use of open surgery, is another example where medical technology could have negative effects. Its intention was to cure people with cancerous cells in places of high risk or in places that could not be safely accessed by open surgery.
The risk lies in the calculation of the amount of radiation that is directed at the cancer. If there is a miscalculation the laser may destroy the cancer and other cells around it, leading to brain damage. From these two examples one can see that there is a limit to how medical technology can be used. Drugs created by medical technology are intended to help humans recover from their illness or improve their condition, however they are harmful if taken in small dosages, in excess or if used in the wrong way. For example if more that 400mg of vitamin E if is taken a day it will act as a blood thinner.
Large doses of vitamin A causes heart problems. An overdose of cold and fly medications can lead to liver failure. Medicine, such as antibiotics are often perceived to be of benefit to humans as it is commonly used to treat bacterial infectious diseases. On the other hand, antibiotics can have unpleasant consequences if taken in dosages that do not completely eradicate the pathogen, thereby contributing to resistance. Antibiotics can also be used abusively when physicians prescribe the drug unnecessarily or if patients become complacent and do not adhere to the necessary antibiotic therapy.
From these examples it is easy to see that medicines can cause adverse effects if taken in excess, small dosages or if used in the wrong way. Lack of funding for medical technology can cause negative effects on the genetic fitness of populations. It can bring about misleading information to the creation of a cure. As new diseases are constantly emerging, doctors, scientists and researchers need to know as much information about the sickness before they can find a cure.
They need to know specific information such as the lifespan of the offending pathogen, if the disease is a virus, the exact signs and symptoms and the genetic make up before they can start research on the cure. However, lack of funds means that research projects may be delayed or even stopped before a cure is found. Researchers need the money so that they will have access to proper equipment and resources. Without it, they may not be able to conclude a research project that has the potential to find information that will lead to a cure. A major issue in medical technology is regulation.
Ethical considerations need to be recognised and evaluated before research can continue. Also the lack of funding also means that cures cannot be tested thoroughly. All cures, whether they are over the counter drugs or prescription medications to medical technology (electronic thermometers), need to be thoroughly tested before they can be passed onto the market or used safely by professionals. In addition, the testing regimes may incur societal backlash due to experimentation on animals. As a result, lack of funds can prevent cures from being formed and this negatively impacts the public.
Medical technology is very important for those with diseases and those who are ill or injured. For people with asthma a breathing machine may be essential for life, without it breathing may become difficult and even dangerous. Medical technology can add years to our lives and can make life better. It enables us to live past the normal expectancy of life. Technology has so many benefits. Without it we would not be able to travel, contact others around the world, entertain, or educate as well as we do. Medical technology is perhaps the most important technology of all.
Courtney from Study Moose
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