Ethical Weight: The Story Of Henrietta Lacks

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The story of Henrietta Lacks is one of great ethical weight. I believe that no one sought out the consent or permission of the use of Henrietta Lack’s cells from herself and her family because of the breakthrough that they would make in the medical field. I believe the researchers and doctors felt that by obtaining these live cells, they could be helping millions and did not really think to the extent of asking for permission. They most likely had a vision for the use of these cells and asking for the permission from the patient themselves or even their families wasn't a thought that came to mind. Furthermore, during the time period in which the medical field was in at the time of the obtaining of Henrietta’s cells, there were no laws or set …show more content…

One being denying the patient the right of governing whether or not their cells, or anything pertaining to them for that matter is used in mass scientific study. Another principle that was violated was definitely privacy. By using Henrietta's cells without permission, scientists and doctors have exposed her private genetic information to the world without her knowing and the knowing of her loved ones. They are many other ethical principles that was potentially violated, one of which was her autonomy was not respected, she was not given the chance to say want she really wanted. Instead the doctor made a decision without her constant (paternalism) to take her cells for research in order to help in the treatment of other patients with similar diseases. The other ethical principle that was violated was that of beneficence. Taking Henrietta Lack’s cells was not to benefit her but to benefit the medical industry and other patients who have similar medical problems she had. At the end of it all Henrietta actually ended up dying. The ways in which the doctors and society as a whole dealt with Henrietta and the rest of the Lacks family was a clear failure of respecting them, and failing to provide them with justice, in the sense that credit was not given to her and her family for their contribution in the successful revolution of the medical …show more content…

Informed consent means to give a patient all the necessary information that is needed to make an informed and voluntary decision or agreeing to a treatment, or research that will benefit them. For doctors to fully obtain informed consent, Henrietta should have been told or given the necessary information about the possible risks and benefits of the research, so that she can have an understanding and make a decision whether or not to participate in the study. The purpose, the procedures, the potential risks and benefits of her being involved in the research should have been given to her, and also the risks and benefits of other options available to her should have been presented to her. She should have also been given time to discuss her decision to consent to the research with her family. If anything, I believe that the consent form was about any mishaps that might have happened during her surgery. Overall the consent form was likely focused on her surgery and the outcome of it. In order to fully obtain consent for the use and research of her cells, doctors and researchers should have informed Henrietta Lack about the rarity of her cells and its impact that it could have in the medical field and all the lives that it could save. There should've been a thorough discussion made including Henrietta and her

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