Henrietta Lacks Ethical Issues

920 Words4 Pages

The Case of Henrietta Lacks In January of 1951, a 30 year old African American, married mother of five visited Johns Hopkins Hospital for vaginal bleeding, her name was Henrietta Lacks. At the time, Johns Hopkins was the only hospital in the area that would treat African American patients. During a pelvic examination, Dr. Howard W. Jones performed a biopsy of a mass located on Mrs. Lacks' cervix. Laboratory test results came back positive for terminal cervical cancer and Mrs. Lacks began treatment. During Mrs. Lacks' treatments, multiple samples were taken from her cervix without her knowledge. These samples were given to Dr. George Otto Gey, a physician and cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins. The collection of cells was nothing new to Dr. Gey, in fact he regularly collected cells for research from all …show more content…

Ethical Issues. When it comes to weighing the benefits of using HeLa cells to the ethical issues derived from the procurment of them, it's for me pretty black and white. Yes, her cells have done great things in the last six decades and will no doubt continue to do so for decades to come. However, the blatant disregard for her permission and later, her familys knowledge cannot go ignored. Johns Hopkins has made a valiant effort in trying to make this error in judgement right since the family became aware, but it begs to question, if not for the scientist who contacted the family inquiring about blood samples, would they have ever found out? When it comes to caring for patients, we as nurse code to guide us in ethical decision making, According to the Code of Ethics for Nurses "each patient has the right to make an informed decision regarding their participation in research. As an advocate for the patient, nurses have a responsibility to ensure that patients are presented with information about any research being performed to the extent that an informed decision can made". Henrietta Lacks was not given this right, that is never okay, for any

Open Document