Volume 38, Issue 1, Spring 2019
Michael W. Nestor, Richard L. Wilson
An Anticipatory Ethical Analysis of Robotic Assisted Surgery
Here we provide an overview of some of the central ethical issues related to the use of surgical robots. Subsequently we introduce an anticipatory ethical analysis of possible consequences for the use of robotic surgery. Anticipatory ethics aims at identifying ethical problems with emerging technologies while they are at the introductory stages for a wide range of stakeholders. Robotic surgery presents a range of positive possibilities, which include treating patients more safely and effectively to caring for patients with telesurgery at remote locations. However, injuries and deaths caused by robotic surgical platforms (RSPs) pose roadblocks to full realization of this technology. Investment in RSPs by for-profits like hospitals requires a detailed stakeholder analysis that takes into account both institutional and patient perspectives. It will take carefully crafted policy and regulation based upon sound technical and ethical analysis to induce the widespread adoption of this surgical method.