Will medicine conspire with technology?

A writer at PC Magazine offers a circumcision analogy to discuss the possibility of implanting RFID chips into children.

I have two children, a boy and a girl. When my son was born 12 years ago, the obstetrician asked within hours of his birth if I wanted to have him circumcised. This is a common practice for boys, so I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Of course, it is a medical procedure, and in hindsight, I wish I’d thought about it for more than 35 seconds.

I wonder if his son will wish he’d thought about it more.

Now imagine a world where the doctor had, instead, asked me if I wanted my son “chipped.” Here’s how that conversation might have gone:

Doctor: “Mr. Ulanoff, it’s a simple and virtually painless procedure.”

Me: “You mean there’s no cutting? No blood?”

Doctor: “Well, no. There is cutting and blood, but it’s a small incision and there’s very little blood.”

Cutting and blood. Nothing major, per the usual nonsense. It could happen.

Have we reached the point where ethics might step in yet, regardless of the potential benefits the parent is trying to achieve for the boy? Does the boy’s desire – or lack of desire – not matter if the boy could have GPS, a unique identifier, and his credit information stored under his skin? Cool isn’t a compelling justification.

A hint of suspicion from the author starts sneaking through with mention of Department of Homeland [sic] Security near the end. Then this:

Me: “But, Doc, he can have it removed at any time, right?”

It’s a shame this can be so obvious in one situation but so ignored in another.

Doctor: “Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not easily removed, and the scar might be larger than you or he really want.”

About that scar and what he wants…

Doctor: “Uh, yes, Mr. Ulanoff, but let’s remember that this is about your son. I need your permission. Keep in mind that 35 percent of today’s children get the implant and most before the age of 2.”

Your decision about his body? Check. “Most” people are having it done? Check. Before the child can object While the child is young enough to forget the procedure? Check.

I can see the scenario where implanting RFID chips into children takes a similar path to acceptance as male circumcision. I’d obviously be against it, since children aren’t property and implanting an RFID chip can hardly be considered a medical necessity. There are also identifiable, easily imagined concerns about privacy and government, especially given our current national opinion that if you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to hide.


It was bound to happen. In the forums, this:

And, I can assure you that the circumcision at 0 years is better than one at 24 years due to yucky things.

That’s why the path to acceptance of such lunacy with RFID chips is easy to see. “I know better than you what you need” is an irrational flaw embraced present in too many.

One thought on “Will medicine conspire with technology?”

  1. When my son was born 12 years ago, the obstetrician asked within hours of his birth if I wanted to have him circumcised.
    I wish this guy had sued the bastard for violating the law that makes it illegal to solicit patients for unnecessary surgery (most states have such laws, from what I understand).
    At the very least, it would’ve been nice if he’d filed a complaint against the offender with his state’s medical board as well as the offender’s employers (the hospital’s administrators).
    Besides sending a clear message to the guilty party, it could eventually result in disciplinary action being taken against him (halleluyah to that!).

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