Bruce at McMaster, “Implantable Medical Devices: Medical Marvels and Ethical Dilemmas”

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Event Details


SPEAKER: Ian Bruce grew up in Australia, where he completed his Bachelor’s and PhD degrees at the University of Melbourne. In between his studies he served on an international ministry team of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Vienna, Austria, in addition to working as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Technology in Vienna. Ian did a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, USA, before joining the faculty at McMaster in 2002. He is currently an associate professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering, as well as being engaged in interdisciplinary research and academic activities in biomedical engineering, psychology, neuroscience, and music cognition. Ian is a member of First Christian Reformed Church, Hamilton, where he is involved in discipleship and music ministry teams.

ABSTRACT: Since the invention of the implantable cardiac pacemaker just over five decades ago, implantable medical devices have become increasingly prevalent in treatment of diseases such as heart arrhythmias, deafness, Parkinson’s, blindness, chronic pain, and paralysis. In addition, implantable devices for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, incontinence, heart failure, and epilepsy are being aggressively researched. Technological developments in these areas make a splash in the media, and successful clinical outcomes are routinely reported as a “good news story” in the evening news. However, such devices can also have unexpected negative impacts on quality of life for patients and potentially broad effects on how society views disability and disease. What ethical frameworks can we use to evaluate both the positive and negative outcomes from implantable medical devices, for individuals and society? How do different worldviews affect our perspective on treatment with such devices?

LOCATION: McMaster University: Room A114 John Hodgins Engineering Building, South Entrance

Presented by Hamilton Area Science and Religion Forum and the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation.

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