Medicine is one of the earliest practices and one of the most ancient sciences that humans apply in their lives. In its root, medicine opposes natural processes of selection and adaptation; thus, it puts people above other living creatures in their intelligent attempts to be influential for a healthy outcome. Various medical approaches are highly inspired by different human cultures and religious beliefs. There are many controversial issues in medicine based on ethical principles. Health care providers in their practices should balance between personal and public benefits. They should not make the situation worse by providing treatment, and they should respect a patient’s autonomy in decision about own health or life. This article identifies 10 highly controversial medical issues.
10. Blood Transfusion
This medical procedure has a long history that saved many lives as well as taking many lives in the process. Some researchers believe that successful blood transfusions were performed by the Incas tribes of South America more than five centuries ago. Their success might be based on the fact that people of the tribe probably had the same blood type.
Documented blood transfusions in Europe, started by Dr. Denys in France in 1667 with a transfusion of sheep’s blood to a human, were not always successful. The milestone discovery of different blood types in 1901 by the Austrian doctor Karl Landsteiner paved the way for safer blood transfusions. However, blood type compatibility is just one factor for complication-free blood transfusion. Different humans have a unique set of compounds in their blood that can create various immune and allergic reactions. Also, there are many life-threatening infections, including HIV and hepatitis B or C viruses that can be delivered from a donor to a recipient during a blood transfusion. Even with modern tests for blood type compatibility and possible infectious contamination, blood transfusion remains a serious procedure with careful considerations of benefits and complications. Some religious groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses oppose blood transfusion as blood is considered to be a sacred substance that cannot be transferred from one human to another.
Ideally, there would be an artificial blood free of individual human antigens and possible infections that would be compatible with anybody; it will be free of potential health hazards and will not put discomfort on personal beliefs. Practically, the main blood function of transporting oxygen is so complicated that we do not know for sure its exact mechanism and cannot yet engineer a similar artificial substance.