Emerging Ethical Issues Related to the Use of Brain-Computer Interfaces for Patients with Total Locked-in Syndrome

Neuroethics 10 (2):235-242 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


New brain-computer interface and neuroimaging techniques are making differentiation less ambiguous and more accurate between unresponsive wakefulness syndrome patients and patients with higher cognitive function and awareness. As research into these areas continues to progress, new ethical issues will face physicians of patients suffering from total locked-in syndrome, characterized by complete loss of voluntary muscle control, with retention of cognitive function and awareness detectable only with neuroimaging and brain-computer interfaces. Physicians, researchers, ethicists and hospital ethics committees should be aware of and prepared to handle ethical issues unique to these totally locked-in patients. Several thought experiments are discussed, to highlight potential ethical dilemmas surrounding surrogate decision-making, autonomy, end-of-life care, and pediatric care, which will be unique to total LIS patients. These, along with other ethical problems especially relevant to total LIS patients, merit further discussion among physicians, researchers, ethicists and hospital ethics committees, to facilitate consensus regarding these issues, and improve patient care.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,075

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Brain damage and the moral significance of consciousness.Guy Kahane & Julian Savulescu - 2009 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34 (1):6-26.
What Ethical Dilemmas Are Japanese Physicians Faced With?Atsushi Asai - 1997 - Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 7 (6):162-165.


Added to PP

59 (#272,686)

6 months
20 (#130,915)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?