AMA to mull ethics of human-locator chip

June 13, 2006 at 10:48 AM
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CHICAGO, June 13 (UPI) -- Should doctors be allowed to implant a tiny computer chip under your skin so you can be tracked around the hospital?

Although the tiny device might arguably improve safety, would it also violate privacy?

Those are among the questions about radio frequency identification that two committees of the American Medical Association have been assigned to answer following action at its annual House of Delegates meeting in Chicago.

The delegates told their Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs to determine if placing the chips in patients constitutes any ethical problems, and they also asked the Council on Science and Public Health to determine the medical and scientific advantages and/or disadvantages of implanting the chips in humans.

Priscilla Ray of Houston, chair of the ethics council, told UPI, "We don't know how log it will take to produce the report. Although the issues are different between the ethics and science, we will try to coordinate our efforts so that the reports are delivered to the House of Delegates at the same time."

Similar chips for animals have recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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