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Ultrasound Technology - Boon or a Bane?

A recent newspaper article reported that a brain dead pregnant woman on life support had passed the milestone in her pregnancy where doctors believed her baby could survive// outside the womb, giving her family new hope. The family spokesperson said the baby is a girl and that Cecilia was a possible name the couple had discussed before her stroke.

As with all knowledge, ethical aspects have assumed an important criterion in the use and abuse of emerging technology. There have been regulatory procedures to limit the misuse of technology but rapid advances often make the regulatory process redundant.

It is therefore necessary to periodically review such regulations. One such technology that needs to be examined is ultrasound. The ethical questions involved here are as grave as the questions weighed in the field of human cloning.

The value of ultrasonography in healthcare facilities weighs heavily on its multi-functionality. It produces live images of muscle and soft tissue, enabling doctors to select the most useful sections for diagnosing and documenting changes.

It shows the structure and function of internal organs and is a useful way to examine the musculoskeletal system to detect problems with muscles, ligaments, and joints. It also assists in identifying blockages, stenosis and other vascular abnormalities.

Ian Donald and colleagues at the Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital in Scotland conducted the first diagnostic procedures using ultrasonography. They applied these techniques to obstetrics to assess the growth of the foetus.

As technical quality of scans further developed, it became possible to monitor pregnancy from start to finish and diagnose complications such as multiple pregnancy and foetal abnormalities.

But the technology that came with a promise of wide-ranging benefits was soon abused as a tool to probe the foetus' sex and led to sex selective eliminations.
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TAG: Ultrasound Technology Boon Bane

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