Hela Cell Line: A Case Study

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When the HeLa cell line is first introduced to the world, there are hardly any set laws put in place in the medical field for ethics aside from the Hippocratic Oath, an oath to uphold specific ethical standards, but this is an oath, not a law. While Henrietta is diagnosed and treated, a sample of her cells is taken by a cervical cancer expert, Richard TeLinde. Neither Henrietta nor her family are informed that TeLinde has taken samples, or his intent with those samples; to this day, Johns Hopkins Hospital has never been accused of doing anything wrong because there were no laws stating that taking a patient 's cells without their consent or knowledge was illegal at the time; however, her family continues to live in poverty, and is psychologically…show more content…
Clearly, taking Henrietta 's cells without permission from the family is a success for science, but it also causes psychological and mental anguish for her family. Day, Henrietta 's husband, simply agreed to whatever the doctor said to him and never had the education to understand the "doctor talk." He simply trusts that a doctor will do the right thing and knows best. He is never given the opportunity to provide informed consent regarding his wife and her body. "Debate about the implementation of informed consent is constricted and polarized, centering on the right of individuals to be fully informed and to freely choose versus and autocratic, paternalistic practice that negates individual choice" (Corrigan 768). This again emphasizes the struggle scientists and researchers have regarding informed consent and patients. Some believe that all patients need to have all of the information provided for them in order for the practice to be ethical and provide dignity and privacy for the patient, others are of the opinion that individual choice is not necessary because the physician or researcher knows best and should be able to further science without disclosing information that may not be understood properly by…show more content…
Questioning the morals and ethics surrounding advancing science and maintaining people 's dignity and privacy has been brought to people 's attention through the study and experimentation with the HeLa cell line. Injecting people with biological material without their knowledge and consent is settled through law suits and new medical and research practices. New procedures are put into place to determine ethical studies and require informed consent. Several acts are created to protect people 's privacy and dignity as various studies come to people 's attention, specifically through the work done with the HeLa cells. If people 's privacy and dignity are not protected, science

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