3D printing has a lot of benefits particularly in the field of medicine. Currently, 3D medical printing is used by orthopedic surgeons to create artificial bones for patients who need limb replacements. It also has a bright future ahead as medical researchers see the potential of using 3D bioprinting and merging it with other technologies like stem cell therapy. Although 3D medical printing is becoming a normal procedure in the medical industry, it has raised several ethical questions.
The first ethical question raised by 3D medical printing include the (1) accessibility in all healthcare settings, (2) testing for its safety and efficacy and (3) will it be used to create enhancements that goes beyond what is normal.
The accessibility of 3D medical printing is an issue that many medical ethics have raised since this technology became popular. While 3D medical printing is widely useful to both patients and doctors, medical institutions that can afford to invest in this technology are those that are financially endowed. Unfortunately, hospitals from third world nations cannot afford this technology.
On the other hand, while 3D medical printing has been the subject of many pilot studies, there are not too many researches that have been done to show the efficacy and safety of this technology. Lastly, many people also believe that 3D medical printing might be used to create bioengineered organs that function well beyond normal means.
While 3D medical printing presents a lot of advantages, these issues serve as a reminder that we need to be responsible with this technology just like any other technologies that we have developed in the past.