Barbara Mason
Memorial University of Newfoundland
This paper tells the story of a recent laboratory medicine controversy in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. During the controversy, a DAKOAutostainer machine was blamed for inaccurate breast cancer test results that led to the suboptimal treatment of many patients. In truth, the machine was not at fault. Using concepts developed by Bruno Latour and Pierre Bourdieu, we document the changing nature of the DAKO machine’s agency before, during, and after the controversy, and we make the ethical argument that treating the machine as a scapegoat was harmful to patients. The mistreatment of patients was directly tied to a misrepresentation of the DAKO machine. The way to avoid both forms of mistreatment would have been to include all humans and nonhumans affected by the controversy in the network of decision-making.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Philosophy of Science  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1091-8264
DOI techne201216318
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