Ethics in Biomedical Engineering

Subject: Mental Health
Type: Evaluation Essay
Pages: 11
Word count: 2991
Topics: Engineering, Medical Ethics

Q: How is ethical problem solving like engineering design (contrast and compare design to the six-steps shown below of responsible engineering decision making (use a point by point comparison)?

There have been a myriad of attributes pertinent to problem solving that are in tandem with engineering design. Just as stated above, there are six steps that are involved in engineering design which also apply to ethical problem solving. The steps involved follow the criteria in which one starts from the statement of the problem to testing and then coming up with the best design that would be suitably implemented in order to arrive at the most amiable solution to the initially identified problem. However, in order for the outcome of the intervention to be yielding enough as anticipated, it is essential that the steps are repeated in a close sequence and pattern that is easy to follow through and redo. This is so in view of ensuring that the processes can be redone in case there is a problem in the due process. 

  1. Goals

There are ethics that govern the way in which ethics in the biomedical engineering department are upheld. However, in order for the employees to uphold the prerequisite morals that would in turn translate into ethical concerns, it is quite important that the individuals concerned set objectives that they are planning to meet through the end of their activities in the department. In the same case, first step that is to be followed in the ethical problem solving process is the identification of the problem that requires an intervention. However, since the issue involves ethics, ethical considerations have to be put in pace to ensure that the intervention chosen obeys moral related moral values and moral clarity. This gives the implication that the basic step that is involved in both ethical problem solving and engineering design is the identification of the problem that is to be solved. In so doing, the parties involved are in a better situation to acquaint themselves with the problem at hand and find a definitive definition to it so that they form a mental picture s to the way forward and how they are expected to reason which is the required fork of objectivity.

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In both instances, the problems to be solved form a network of prerequisite needs in which they those having the intentions of finding solutions to them have to acquire ample knowledge that would enable them develop logical thinking capabilities and skills. This is because some of the problems re complex and do not require simple solutions but those that are complex. In the latter situation, the processes involved in finding amicable solutions may be very iterative in terms of conflation and analysis. Thus, in order for the individuals involved to ensure that they stay at the forefront of the issues, they need to ensure that they need to apply the knowledge they have in pertinent to critical thinking in order to find modest solutions that will not only solve the problems but also serve as an eye-opener that would assist them in preventing the occurrence of the situation at a future time. 

However, there may instances in which the interventions involved may vary as far as the field of engineering design and ethical problem solving are concerned. Engineering design is mainly focused on finding the problem that are affecting the designs that are designed using engineering concepts. After that, the concerned parties will be redefining the issue and finding the most amicable solutions. On the other hand, the ethical problem solving involves following ethical concerns to the latter while formulating the most applicable solution to a problem. In the case that a solution is found but it seems to be conflicting with the ethics governing the whole process, then the solution is foregone and the parties embark on finding another solution that would not go against ethical concerns. 

  1. Players

Players are the stakeholders in both fields. In most cases, the most ranked officials in the field of any profession are those who hold the managerial and supervisory position. The individuals in these positions have the abilities to invoke the way the employees would carry out their routine roles in the firm. Also, they make major decisions that affect the firm either positively or negatively. In both engineering design and ethical problem solving, the top ranking officials are involved in making decisions that dictate the general outcomes of the activities the firms in question carryout. This is because they exercise their authority on both the resources of the firm and the employees under their rule. However, the difference lies in the freedom that is accorded to the leaders in both departments or rather organizations. In the ethical problem solving part, the top ranking officials’ decisions are limited to the ethical concerns and rules that govern the way they act, make their decisions and exercise their ruling on other employees while in engineering design, the people concerned make decisions they deem fit for the organization concerned and they are not limited to any code of ethical conduct. 

  1. Facts and Standards

Safety code and standards are meant to play a pivotal role in safeguarding the public. This is the same case with ASMEs that are under the management of the Board on Safety Codes and Standards (BSCS). The ASME safety codes and standards govern the engineering designs that employees in the same department are allowed to come up with when a design is needed. The safety code and standards act as the guideline that is meant to be followed at any particular instant. However, in pertinent to ethical problem solving, there are no safety code and standards as the ethical procedures to be followed are themselves enough to serve as safety standards. Therefore, in both instances, there is a guide that is meant to be followed. 

  1. Ethical Dilemmas

There are situations in which engineers find themselves in tight positions to make decisions that affect their profession. The decisions they are meant to make are supposed to be in relation to ethical issues such as sustainability and safety in the design processes they may be dealing with as far as engineering is concerned. However, the issue with the decisions made regarding engineering design is that they are highly dependent on the type of design the specified engineers are working to build. The engineers may at times find themselves in situations in which they cannot follow the guidelines that they are supposed to follow yet they are obligated to follow them to the latter. In such situations, they may be torn between following them and foregoing them for the sake of making their work easier. Such situations are difficult to choose from more so when the field of work insists on strict regulations. It is worth noting that they not only happen to those in the engineering design but also other departments and careers inclusive of the ne in ethical problem solving.

  1. Solutions

In order to arrive at results that may neither compromise the activities of the firm or the employees, it is critical to formulate strategies that would lead into yielding solutions. Take the case of ethical problem, choosing an intervention that is not far away from the ethics that are meant to be followed should be the best way out. When the intervention chosen is next to the ethics, it may appear as though the ethics code of conduct was not violated at all or may be it had just been violated to a minor extent that may not dent the image of either the firm of the employee in question. On the other hand, the scenario involving engineering design, the solution to be made should be taken with a lot of caution. This is because engineering design deals with numerous designs and each requires a different intervention. If at all an intervention meant for another is applied in one that does not fit, the overall outcome may be quite unpleasant. Such may serve to destroy the image of the firm and the employee involved. Therefore the individual(s) should revise the code of conduct regarding engineering design to come up with a solution that does not interfere with the intended design and does not jeopardize the performance of the employee.

  1. Double-Check

The stakeholders in the firm are those who stand to gain or loss from the certain projects made by the firm. In most cases, the main objective underlying the stakeholders is the success attributed to the firm by certain systems and projects. However, in order for a design to be successful, it must be in tandem with the needs of the company. Also, the desperate members of the firm should approve of the project for it to be said to have been a success because if the case is otherwise then the project would be termed as being a total failure which only serve to bring the stakeholders involved massive losses. Where the type of the stakeholder involved is user-centered, then there would be need to pay special attention to the use of the design and how its use would satisfy the needs of the user. 


Q: Find a code of ethics applicable to BME and most closely tied to the track specialization area you are pursuing. What organization does this code of ethics belong to?

BMEs endearing to fulfill their professional duties in pertinent to engineering shall;

  • Apply their skills, knowledge and abilities to ensure the health, safety and welfare if the public is guaranteed.
  • Devote themselves through examples, actions and influence to increase their prestige, honor and competence of the BME profession. 

The code of ethics mentioned above applies to organizations that deal with professions inclined to BME. 

Q: What are the main considerations provided for in the code (list four or five and define in your own words what they mean)?

  • Work tirelessly to ensure the safety of the public

This code requires of those undertaking the BME professions to devote themselves to ensure they give their best output and results that are satisfactory to those receiving the goods or services. 

  • Use their abilities in the manner that is prerequisite of them

The above code binds BME employees to use knowledge in the areas that they are required to and not in areas that would cause harm to the general public. This is because the codes are meant to guard the public from any harm that would accrue to them as a result of BME activities.

  • Endeavor to boost their prestige

When the employees work hard to increase their knowledge regarding the BME, they tend to offer modest results that may be appealing to most if not all of the stakeholders involved. Also, an increase in information regarding a particular field inspires self confidence in handling difficult tasks that may accrue in tandem with the completion of BME related tasks. In so doing, the code paves way for self-development. 

  •  Work in a manner that inspires competence

The code encourages the employees to be devoted to give their career lines the best shot they have got. By so doing, they stay at the top of competition that may be a threat to the growth of the firm if the employees are not competent in carrying out their delegated roles. 

As far as the code mentioned above is concerned there is no arising conflict whatsoever as the points under it seems to be in agreement in all case considerations.

Q: 3

Line Chart


In the event that the Beacon-Robinson (BR) company allows cell encapsulation technology to take control of the market by replacing the syringes that are used in the administration of insulin drugs, the technology is most likely to impact the syringe market negatively as it would lower its sales. In so doing, the BR Company may be in a better position to gain make more profit and gain patents. However, there is also the possibility that the BR Company may lose its financial sovereignty which would in turn translate into dwindling profits. The latter would happen if the Biotech Company removes the need for insulin injections. 

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There are factors and fronts to put into consideration; the BR Company may choose to buy the Biotech Company to prevent the profit loss that would occur if it closes. If that is the case, the BR Company would then have to forego the cell encapsulation technology due to the relativity of the cost associated with it. In so doing, the company would be obliged to forget about the initial case involving the use of syringes. There is also the instance in which the BR firm may buy the biotech company and sell the encapsulation devices thus getting profits in return. In such a case, the marketing of the syringe that the company deals would decrease drastically but the competition would have been handled. As a last resolution, the BR firm may identify a closed insulin delivery system through closed feedback which may serve to work against the new technology by the biotech company. In so doing, the BR Company may generate new venues to sell their products. 

Q: 4 

  • Goals

The Tuskegee study had objective to find the treatment for Syphilis whereas the Bhopal case was concerned with the study involving the gas leakage that lead to the great disaster in India and the death of many. They are both endeared towards detailing the issues related to disasters affecting human existence. 

  • Stakeholders

The players in the Bhopal tragedy are those who were in management of the company that was behind the occurrence of the disaster. On the other hand, the stakeholders in the Tuskegee case are the medical researchers who were conducting research regarding syphilis and coming up with justifiable treatments. 

  • Facts and Standards

The issue that went wrong with the Tuskegee study is that individuals who had been used as the subjects in the research were not given adequate information regarding the ay in which the study was to be carried out and what was in stake for them. When they realized the effect that the study had posed on them, they caused a public outcry that was featured in the New York Times story (Daugherty-Brownrigg, 2013). The latter made the assistant secretary in charge of the Health and Scientific Affairs to appoint an Ad Hoc panel for advisory review of the study thus came up with the sad realization. In the scenario involving Bhopal, there was an accidental gas leakage. The latter was attributed to the water that was also accidentally poured into the tank containing the gas. The water reacted vigorously with the methyl isocyanate (MIC) which was in the tank. The resulting gas of the reaction found its way into the air (Palazzi, Currò & Fabiano, 2015).  

  1. Ethical Dilemmas

In the scenario about Tuskegee, the Assistant Secretary was caught up between compensating the victims from the public funds delegated by the government or just let them be as they were most likely suffer greatly health-wise in pertinence to the destruction done to them by the research study. The Bhopal Company did not have enough money to compensate the victims of the tragedy that had been caused by the leakage so the management was caught up between acquiring money to compensate them an continue with operations in the organization as before or compensate them and close down the firm as a result of public outcry and bankruptcy. 

  1. Solutions

In the scenario involving Tuskegee, providing funds for researchers to find the formidable treatment for the patients in order to put them out of their misery would be the best cause of action to take. This is because it would solve the public outcry issue and help the victims get back to comfortable life they used to live before the occurrence of the tragedy. In the Bhopal case, compensating the victims would be difficult but making plans that would facilitate the same would be a try. As for closing the company, the image is already ruined so shutting it down or rather establishing a replica in another location with a different name would be great (Palazzi, Currò & Fabiano, 2015)

  1. Double-Check

Devolving funds to assist the victims of the tragedy would not be against the needs of any stakeholder involved as it is the duty of the government to work to ensure that public outcries are solved amicably (Daugherty-Brownrigg, 2013). In the scenario involving Bhopal, compensation of the victims would be a great blow to all of the stakeholders involved. This is because they stand to end up bankrupt since the people to be compensated are many and the in such a case the firm would have no otherwise to secure means of funds which might involve loans. If the latter is the case, the players would spend their money to their negativity points. Such is a blow from which the players would not recover. About the closure of the firm, it would be in the best interest of the people to do so but it quite obvious that the stakeholders of the company would not agree (Palazzi, Currò & Fabiano, 2015)

Q: 5

The definitive solutions that best befit ethical dilemmas should be solved in pertinence to the objectives underlying the study and the stakeholder in question. MBE is one of the fields that require studies to be conducted and in the process of carrying out the research studies, the individuals involved are bound to incur some of the hard times in which they are torn between two decisions. Such is a type of ethical dilemma that most individuals not only those in the field of BME find themselves. Making decision in engineering should be pegged on the code that control the way engineers act and carry their roles. Most of the professions do not require employees to use their heads in making decisions but rather follow the guidelines tat govern the employees inclusive of the codes of ethics. 

Did you like this sample?
  1. Daugherty-Brownrigg, B. (2013). Tuskegee syphilis study. In Mental Health Practitioner’s Guide to HIV/AIDS (pp. 423-426). Springer New York.
  2. Palazzi, E., Currò, F., & Fabiano, B. (2015). A critical approach to safety equipment and emergency time evaluation based on actual information from the Bhopal gas tragedy. Process safety and environmental protection97, 37-48.
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