The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA, is a common term heard around health care today. HIPAA, a privacy rule to protect a person’s health information, is one of the first things that came to my mind when I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This book, written by Rebecca Skloot, was published in 2010, which was after HIPAA was enacted. The story of Henrietta Lacks starts long before HIPAA, and her name was leaked as the source of what became well-known as HeLa cells. HeLa cells are cancer cells that were removed from Henrietta’s cervix, and were subsequently utilized in research for numerous medical discoveries. The dilemma is, Henrietta herself had no knowledge of this when she was alive, nor did any
Henrietta Lacks was a thirty-one year old African American who had five kids and married her cousin David Lacks. Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the doctors never informed Mrs. Lacks that her cells were to be tested on. The Lacks family was certainly not advised that Henrietta 's cells were growing at an incredible rate. Because of this, the cancer cells were shipped and bought across the world. The last 8 months of Henrietta’s death became a piece of history nobody would ever want to forget. Not only would her cells be important, but also, these cancer cells would cause her family to go through many challenges. Though Henrietta’s might have not been and important person while being alive. She & her family live through her reproducing cancer cells that continue to create advancements in the medical field.
“The reason Henrietta's cells were so precious was because they allowed scientists to perform experiments that would have been impossible with a living human. They cut HeLa cells apart and exposed them to endless toxins, radiation, and infection. They bombarded them with drugs, hoping to find one that would kill malignant cells without destroying normal ones.” (58)”Throughout the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” there are many examples of how the HeLa cell of Henrietta Lacks provided cellular information and examples that helped mold many cellular discoveries and experiments.
The media and scientific community are guilty of viewing Henrietta Lacks and her family as abstractions.Nonetheless, the central argument of the book is that the scientific community has an ethical obligation to respect the dignity, autonomy, and person-hood of all subjects and individuals with whom it comes into contact. Accordingly, individuals cannot be made into subjects of scientific inquiry without their consent. And, when objects of scientific study (including, for example, the physical material scientists use within a laboratory setting) are sourced from individual people, those individuals deserve to be made aware of such sourcing, and when possible they ought to be appropriately compensated. Therefore, you can see how the scientific
The lecture, led by Dr. Christian Dimaano, discussed a variety of health disparities and then went into an in depth look at Henrietta Lacks, and the use of her cells in scientific research. He described health disparities as the differences of health problems between races, lifestyles, and mental processes. This was a very interesting topic for me, as a nursing major, I hadn’t really thought about health disparities before, so it was interesting to think about all of the potentially higher health risks that can occur simply because a patients race, or mental state. He also discussed the social determinants of heath and how things like your physical environment, economic stability, social community, and education can all influence your health.
I presume that it would be ethically correct to provide a compensation to Henrietta Lacks descendants. I am aware that Henrietta Lacks cells enabled scientist to encounter new discoveries such as the polio vaccine and other. However, the benefits of her cells does not outweigh the fact that Lacks family deserved some sort of compensation. It would be ethically correct because the financial reward could have accommodated the needs of her family. In the article “Family of Henrietta Lacks gains some control” states, “When scientists and doctors crave the key to the genetic code that unlocked treatments and vaccines, two family members will have a seat at the table where the decisions are made” (Curtis). In other words, the only compensation
Polio: An American Story written by David Oshinsky highlights the journey to the discovery of a vaccine which would finally put an end to the once mysterious disease, Poliomyelitis. The journey begins in Otter Valley, Vermont, as it was the first Polio epidemic to be documented in the United States. Unknowingly, it would take years after the first epidemic in 1894 to find a solution for this frightening illness. The disease dates back to ancient time, with cases describing the victims to be left with disfigured limbs and some eventually to be paralyzed. Oshinsky identifies that the disease appeared in three phases: endemic, which occurs in a sporadically within a group of people, epidemic, in which it affected many people and spread rapidly,
Imagine your mother, sister, wife, or cousin was diagnosed with cervical cancer and you believed the doctors were doing everything in their power to help her. Only later you discovered her cells were used for research without consent and she was not properly informed of the risks of her treatment due to her race. This story happened and is told by Rebecca Skloot in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Skloot use of narrative and her writing style enhances the understanding of the story. Henrietta Lacks was a young black woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at John Hopkins Hospital. Her doctor collected cancerous cells and healthy cells from her cervix and gave them to the cancer researcher, George Otto Gey, who was trying to keep cells alive for more than a couple days. Henrietta endured intense radium treatments, but she still died at the age of 31, leaving her husband and five children behind. An amazing discovery was made Henrietta’s cell were immortal. Racism is prevalent in this book through the limited availability of healthcare, unethical behaviors of the doctors, and how racism affected her family.
In 1951, at the age of 31 Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Henrietta was under treatment at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where cells from her malignant tumor were removed. Neither Henrietta nor any of her family members knew about the tissue sample and nor did the Hopkins ever informed them of the situation. Unfortunately after Henrietta’s radiation treatment, her condition continued to worsen and soon she lost her battle to cancer on octomber 4th 1951. Henriettas cells left the Hopkins what they discovered to be known to be the first immortal human cell line. This made the rest of the scientific world realized they'd just made a gigantic breakthrough in medical technology. Up until this time, scientists were unable to grow human cells in the culture of a Petri dish, but Henrietta’s cells multiplied at a feverish pace. Furthermore, increasing the amount of deadly cancer in her body. Henrietta’s cells also continued to grow and multiply outside her body in laboratory conditions.. Henrietta died at the age of 31, leaving behind a husband and five young children. About 24 years after there mothers death, Henriettas children were finally made aware of their mothers part in medical research. Leaving behind thousands of unanswered
The origination of HeLa cells, used in biomedical research for a potential cure for cancer, had made many ground breaking discoveries in science; all thanks to one woman, Mrs. Henrietta Lacks. The history of Mrs. Lacks’s contribution to these studies raised many ethical issues concerning healthcare practice. In the short film, The Way of All Flesh, we learn how these cells were revealed by direct violation of ethical principles.
An essential part of modern society relied on trust, especially the trust of doctors and scientists. People had the right to make an informed decision about their bodies and body parts. People had a right to their body parts, both attached and cell samples collected by doctors. The actions that the medical professions made will continue to affect future generations in both positive and negative ways. In the contemporary biographical novel, the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot used logical opinions to argue about the importance of consent to reveal the lack of morality from those in the medical field which continues to persist today. Scientists and doctors made great discoveries with the HeLa cells of Henrietta Lacks. The family of Henrietta Lacks had to live with the aftermath of decisions made by doctors and
I believe that chapter 18 had the most compelling issue from the book thus far. In this chapter, a few of the revolutionary events that involved HeLa cells were discussed in good detail. First, culture cells were dying in the lab or quickly becoming cancerous. In one experiment, HeLa cells