VeriMed project of the company

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is one of the most advanced types of identification system usually used to record and identify objects. Years after its discovery, RFID chips have also been implanted on animals to help owners keep track of their pets.

But a very “controversial application of RFID in the health care industry is an implanted RFID chip about the size of a grain of rice” in a person’s arm that could be used for medical emergencies by scanning it in a reader and it would reveal a verification number of the person’s identity along with other medical information about him or her that could be linked to the hospital database and aid doctors and nurses who need to treat the patient (Banks, Pachano, and Thompson, 2007, p. 316).

RFID chips that were produced by VeriChip are among the implantations first approved in 2004 by the United States Food and Drugs Administration along with the approval of the VeriMed project of the company, Applied Digital Solutions. Although implanted chips have been applied for other purposes like tracking and security, the likes of the VeriChip are intended to be used for identification and accessing a person’s health records for medical purposes especially in cases of emergency.

This advancement in technology is believed to be very helpful especially in treating patients with sensitive cases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes. But implanting chips on people also poses a lot of ethical issues in the practice of medicine. Every person has a right to his or her own privacy and chip implants on all American citizens for the sake of health care services translate to invasion of privacy and probably the injuring of the confidentiality of a patient’s medical history.

Implanting chips on people may have the potential of aiding in health care purposes, but it should not threaten the security and safety of any individual patient. Analysis In health care, it is quite obvious that “every technological leap forward leaves a trail of ethical questions in its wake” (Allen, 2007, p. 29). RFID chips are said to be among the most innovative technology for medicine and they are created to help especially in life threatening situations.

“By scanning a person’s chip, caregivers can retrieve an identification code that enables them to access the medical history of people who cannot otherwise communicate their identities—speeding up their treatment and possibly saving their lives” (Foster and Jaeger, 2007, p. 1). Doctors and nurses would easily know through their database not only the patient’s identity, but also the history of sickness or kind of treatments that he or she is taking. This is very vital especially for dangerous operations or when the patient is not capable of communicating directly to them anymore.

RFID may be very helpful in medical emergencies but “civil libertarians, consumer advocates and other critics are not so keen” with the technology especially when its makers, the VeriChip, excludes itself from any responsibility if the information is either hacked or stolen (Wolinsky, 2006). Aside from this risk, there are more negative implications from these chip implants that seem to continue to prevail over their positive promise. It is very clear that not just because the government has access to the technology; it means that all people should be obligingly given RFID chips implanted on their body.

Implants on a person’s body, especially if it will by force, translate into the erosion of a person’s privacy and their “right to bodily integrity” (Foster and Jaeger, 2007, p. 1). Therefore, these chip implants should never be mandatory. It is an abuse to a person’s right to privacy because everything that the chip contains can be easily known and shared to the public and the patient does not have control of who sees his or her medical records.

Other than an abuse of professional ethics and violation of a patient’s privacy, RFID on human bodies are not always hundred percent guaranteed to be safe. According to some studies, “chip implants had induced malignant tumors in some lab mice …

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