Did Henrietta Lacks Use Stem Cells And Informed Consent?

795 Words4 Pages

Before 1962, there were no laws or guidelines that doctors had to follow when taking and using human cells. Ruth Faden, director of Johns Hopkins University says, "It's a sad commentary on how the biomedical research community thought about research in the 50's, but it was not at all uncommon for physicians to conduct research on patients without their knowledge or consent" (Skloot, "Cells," 2001). The researchers were not trying to be immoral, but they did not see anything wrong with taking tissue samples without consent, as long as the patient was not hurt. During that era, the researchers would forget about the patient once they had obtained a cell sample. They did not think about the fact that when conducting experiments, the cells they were using came from actual people. Henrietta Lacks did not know that a tissue sample had been taken from her cervix, but the turning point in medical ethics was when researchers started injecting patients with cancer cells without their consent, so they could see how cancer spreads. After that, the government institutionalized medical review boards and informed consent laws. By law, informed consent means that the patient knows that the study involves research, the purpose of the research, the duration of their participation, procedure, …show more content…

Gey took a tissue sample from her, and scientists who were making discoveries obviously benefitted financially from Henrietta's cells since they were making profit from their creations. So the Lacks family was enraged when they found out that people were profiting from their mother's cells that Dr. Gey stole. They felt that since Henrietta was their mother, they owned the HeLa cells and the hospital did not have the right to experiment on the cells without their consent. They thought that they should at least get compensation for the scientific discoveries. That brings up the question of who owns the cells and whether or not the family should be making any

Open Document