The Use of the Computer Program RIP in Medical Technology

In Thompson and Hickeys article, Medical Technology and Ethical Issues, they

explain the ethical and sociological crisis of technology in the medical field. More so focused on a computer program known as RIP, which is used in emergency rooms across the country and around the world to determine if a patient should receive care to save their life or allow them to die. (Para. 2) If you arrived at the emergency room in critical condition would you want a computer program to decide whether or not doctors should save your life? I sure would not.

The first twenty four hours are crucial for a patient in critical condition, this is what my family was told when my brother attempted suicide and ended up in ICU. His condition could have changed at any moment for better or for worse but only time could tell. If the RIP system was used at that very moment he hit the ER he would not be here with us today. The RIP system is not a program that belongs in the emergency room beings though a decision could be made within minutes of arrival for you to die when you most definitely could have lived. Because this could have been the case that was in the 5% of cases when the program is wrong. (Para. 3) The importance of my life can only be felt by a member of a care team such as the staff in the emergency room and that’s who I want to determine if I live or die, not a computer program. Ultimately, decisions to resuscitate or let die should be made by a doctor. In some places when medical resources are limited, the use of the RIP system is acceptable when it is extremely helpful in deciding who will or will not benefit from treatment. But should still only be used as a tool in the doctor’s choice and should not be relied upon for a complete yes or no answer. Also, while discrimination would be less likely when using the system as it may have been in the past, medical care officials could become less compassionate about their jobs and the patient because they no longer have to work hard for answers, they can just simply push a button and there’s the answer. Sooner than later there

will no longer be a relationship between the patient and doctor and could replace just about every member of the health care team the more it advances.

In conclusion, medical offices and emergency rooms are not complete without the use of technology in today’s time. Furthermore, these offices are nothing without its officials, each of them play a crucial role in the process of the ER, without them what is the need of going to an office when I can self-diagnose myself? While technology does allow a doctor to reach a verdict quicker than before it should not be used in emergency rooms. Every patient should have a chance to be saved if dying and later a diagnosis should be made. “Medical ethics is an arena in which sociologists can revisit issues about the doctor-patient relationship… the meaning of death and dying, and the character of the medical profession”. When technology starts to interfere with the meaning of medical and health care and what it stands for, that is where you draw the line. Otherwise you can take “care” out of the equation.


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