pecify the severity or likelihood of these risks.
"Any medical device approved by the FDA has potential risk factors listed in the approval letter. VeriChip is no different," said Silverman, who had an RFID chip implanted in his arm in 2002 -- more than two years before the FDA first approved the chips -- and has experienced none of the potential problems.
Albrecht feels there are other technologies that are far less invasive and can achieve the same goal.
Albrecht promotes the MedicAlert bracelet as the ideal way to solve the problem of Alzheimer's patients who cannot relay their medical information reliably. MedicAlert bracelets bear a recognizable medical symbol on the outside and have the patient's medical conditions listed on the back.
While Barnes worries that the MedicAlert bracelet could break off or be removed by the patient, Albrecht believes it is just as likely that an RFID chip would fail or the system that holds patients' electronic records could crash.
Bioethicists don't share all of Albrecht's concerns.
Jason Karlawish of the University of Pennsylvania said, "There is a well-worked-out guide to conduct ethics for what is and isn't permissible," Karlawish said, calling Albrecht's objection to families' consenting on behalf of the Alzheimer's patients "simply not correct."
Jeffrey Spike of Florida State University agreed, pointing out that families are regularly called upon to make life-or-death decisions for loved ones who are mentally incapacitated.
But he worries because the chip program has not yet been evaluated by a review board. Such a board, Spike said, would need to look at potential risks -- both physical and psychological -- and let prospective participants know their right to withdraw by having their chip removed or deactivated.
Barnes said a review board will be assembled in the next few weeks, to be headed by Andrew Passeri, a board member Page: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
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