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Ethics of 3D Printing in Veterinary Medicine

by • March 27, 2016 • No Comments

The practice of medicine in fraught with moral and philosophical conundrums. The additional harsh and dramatic the medical intervention, the deeper the inquiries connected to such activities. Questions that have been in the public eye range of the debate over the right to refuse vaccines or other medical treatments for the reason of religious belief to inquiries regarding both end of life and beginning of life decisions.

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, The Supervet, with one of his patients, Maine Coon cat, Barros

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, The Supervet, with one of his patients, Maine Coon cat, Barros

In veterinary medicine, most (though not all) of the moral dilemmas faced by folks doctors are in addition confronted. One area where veterinary medicine seems to have had less trouble than human medicine is in the area of end of life decisions. As animals cannot express their desires, we seem to have created a greater degree of comfort with belief that at times the most path for an animal is to be released of suffering through euthanasia.

1D49D06900000578-3501100-image-a-2_1458461959284This decision is not as easy as it once was, yet, given manufactures it to in medicine, especially the contributions created via 3D printing technologies. According to the UK’s supervet Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, it is increasingly possible to save an animal’s life in circumstances that just a few short years ago may have been seen as necessarily terminal. Given these expanded possibilities, the question that now arises is: when should an animal’s life be saved and when should it not?

Similar to all harsh issues, there is an emotional element to this decision that not just manufactures it additional complex, but in addition provides the just possible mechanism by that an answer can be reached. Now that so much can be established the question is no longer one of possibility but pretty of what is right.

At what point is it determined that despite the fact that it is possible to save an animal’s life, it is in the most interest of the animal not to do so? As Professor Fitzpatrick has stated:

“The bottom line now is that anything is possible, if you have a blood and nerve donate. That means that we now have a line in the sand: not what is ‘possible’ but what is ‘right.’ In the past it was the case of if it wasn’t possible, you’d move to euthanasia.”

And it’s not a question that can just be dismissed. Fitzpatrick argues that we owe it attention as the flipside to having obtained so most benefits created on the suffering and death caused by testing on animals. Attempts to address the issue generally hinge upon ideas of the high end of life of the animal post-procedure. And with animals unable to unquestionably indicate their wishes, it’s up to their human caretakers to manufacture the most decision for them, a thing that can be exceedingly complex as possibilities expand and given the nature of our attachment to our pets.

Now, if you can excuse me, I have to see if I can convince my rats to stop procrastinating and conclude their living can documents. Thoughts on this topic? Discuss in the 3D Printing & Veterinary Ethics forum over at 3DPB.com.gi4s7xv95x9xp4jsuy1o