Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 11:38

Mad Science or Medicine? 

Metaphorically, technology and medicine are holding hands making enormous strides of success together. Consider that not long ago in the grand scheme of things, the ultrasound machine was non-existent. That meant that no parent could find out the gender of their child or children for that matter. No doctor could visualize any prenatal defect or prepare for said defect(s). Nowadays any motivated mother or parent could simply purchase an in-home portable ultrasound machine to use anytime they desired. This is just a single example of the growth of a combination of medicine and technology; it seems they are growing together. 

As everyone knows, medical students (M.D.) undergo a long and grueling process of education including an undergraduate degree(s), a graduate degree, a three to seven year residency program, and possibly an extra one to three-year fellowship program. This is an extraordinary amount of education, and some think that willing, qualified students should start learning medicine earlier than college. Also, due to the fusion of medicine and technology, some believe that a mechanically inclined student will find more success than those who are not. Let’s take a look:

According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, “Robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000”. Since then, hundreds of thousands of surgeries have been successful, in part, due to the robotic assistance provided by the da Vinci Surgical System. The da Vinci Surgical System is an extremely precise set of controllable arms operated by a physician that performs minimally invasive surgeries. Presumably, the system has been given some upgrades since 2000, however without a doubt, training has increased for physicians who intend to use the system. Admittedly, the capabilities of the da Vinci Surgical System are pretty neat. 

This then begs the ambitious set of questions: When will robots be doing the full surgery? Should students become mechanical engineers instead of physicians? When do we start teaching students these subjects? Okay, okay, dramatic blogging skeptic. I get it, we can only speculate. In my opinion, the advancement of robotics in medicine is wonderful, physicians are going to be half technical gurus, and medicine/technology will be taught at younger and younger ages as time continues. 

Here’s my logic: Consider that at one point, trigonometry was a college course. Now, middle-school aged students are calculating the Pythagorean theorem in week 3. Also, STEM teaching continues to grow and influence a kind of collaboration between subjects. So while students learn to engineer a mechanical arm, they are learning the technical programming of the device, as well as the ligaments/bones/muscles of a human arm. It’s exciting to see the interdisciplinary subjects collide, but a bit overwhelming to think that middle-school students are building machines and learning anatomy.  

None-the-less, society owes a great respect to those who pursue and participate in all aspects of the medical field. Sure, at times, it can be frustrating sitting in the waiting room, but elsewhere someone is saving an infant’s life. 

STEM Fuse does offer a course in both Biomedicine and Biotechnology. For more information visit 

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?

Talk to you soon, be well, and Cheers.


Works Cited

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Robotic Surgery." - Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2015.
"The Da Vinci® Surgical System." Da Vinci Surgery. Intuitive Surgical, n.d. Web. 25 June 2015.

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