Henrietta Lacks Ethics

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Jasmine Poole The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is about a women who has cervical cancer that went to the doctor to get better. But instead of just getting better, the doctors took a sample of the cancer cells. The doctor used her cells to help other people with the same cancer get better. In this case, Henrietta and her family didn’t know that her cells were being sold all around the world to reporters/doctors. There were many ethical issue and ethical theories that took place as well. After reading this story, I noticed many ethical issues that were brought up. The first issue is informed consent. Henrietta and her family did not give consent to take her cells and sell them. They never signed any forms or verbally explained…show more content…
The first ethical theory is Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is based on actions that show right from wrong. In the story the Utilitarianism, is choosing which would benefit the most to the most people. This theory would conclude that it was the best choice to take Henrietta Lack’s cells and distribute them all over like they did in the story. The utilitarianism would benefit much more on the decision that the doctor made then a negative decision, which is based on consequences. A Utilitarianism is looking for the benefits which was obvious that a lot of people were greatly affected by the cells in a good way for researchers to do multiple experiments and make money off of it. The second ethical theory I found in the story was the Deontology. Deontology is based on rules. In the story, deontology is shown by the rules of informed consent and justice. Henrietta did not give any form of consent, verbally or in a written form. Which is the process to use any part of someone’s body. Even though it was something that help a lot of people it was done unethical. In conclusion to the ethical theories, the Utilitarianism and deontology is on two different sides of the fence. While one is applauding the doctor and believe that it is ethical, the other believes following the rules and believes that it is unethical. Based on the story and the time frame, this experiment was ethical and the right thing to
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