The final violation of ethical principles, in the story of Henrietta Lacks, was the violation of justice. Without the contribution of Henrietta’s cells, many discoveries and vaccines, such as the vaccine that conquered Polio, would not have made their pivotal breakthroughs in biomedical research. Her direct and unknowingly, supportive contribution helped save many people’s lives all over the world. Unfortunately, her named did not receive the recognition it deserved, and her family never received any compensation for profits made from direct use of her
In the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, the author demonstrates the harsh realities that many African Americans faced in the medical and scientific field during the mid 20th century. The author shows the unjust practices of this time period through interviews with the Lacks family and medical professionals. These harsh realities are proven when Skloot talks to Henrietta’s family. Henrietta’s husband, Day, explains how they took samples from Henrietta’s body without consent when Skloot writes, “Day clenched his remaining three teeth. "I didn't sign no papers," he said.
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.
What are the specific issues raised in the book—legally and ethically? Think about the 1980s John Moore case: the appeal court decision and its reversal by the California Supreme Court. Issues that raised in the book are race issues, the legality of taking adventage of patients who’s family aren’t able to fight for the rights and benefit of their cells. According to California supreme court, Under the duty to obtain informed consent, “a doctor must disclose his intent in using a patient for research and economic gain.” 6.
Before 1962, there were no laws or guidelines that doctors had to follow when taking and using human cells. Ruth Faden, director of Johns Hopkins University says, "It's a sad commentary on how the biomedical research community thought about research in the 50's, but it was not at all uncommon for physicians to conduct research on patients without their knowledge or consent" (Skloot, "Cells," 2001). The researchers were not trying to be immoral, but they did not see anything wrong with taking tissue samples without consent, as long as the patient was not hurt. During that era, the researchers would forget about the patient once they had obtained a cell sample. They did not think about the fact that when conducting experiments, the cells they were using came from actual people.
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 main ethical problems are that the cells were taken without Henrietta’s permission, and that her family never received reimbursement for Henrietta’s contribution to
“Was It Illegal for Doctors to Take Cells from Henrietta Lacks Without her Consent?” How can you take cells from a human being and treat them as clothes that you’re just selling. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot told the story of the woman behind the famous cell line and the fact that her family did not know about Lacks’ immortal cells until more than 20 years after her death. Some believe it was legal to take Mrs. Lacks cells, while others disagree and say it’s illegal. It was definitely illegal for the doctors and scientist to take Henrietta’s cells without her consent.
Later in the book, as Skloot actually gets close to the members of the Lack's family it becomes more and more apparent that they are angry Hopkins took Henrietta’s cells without her consent and that no one had informed them either after she died. Lawrence tells Skloot, “She’s the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance” (Skloot 168)? This shows the Lack ’s think it is unfair that Henrietta had, unknowingly, contributed so much to the scientific world, but her family is living in poor areas and conditions without any health
Racism in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 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.
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.
I first heard about Henrietta Lacks story after noticing and advertisement of Oprah Winfrey directing or possibly playing the role of Ms. Lacks. Reading the caption underneath the picture posted I decided to inquire more about the Henrietta Lacks. Ms. Lacks was an African American woman who found out in 1951 after a biopsy, Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The manifestation of the tumor was unlike anything that had ever been seen by the examining gynecologist Dr. Howard Jones. Henrietta Lacks was treated at the segregated John Hopkins Hospital with radium tube inserted and sewn into her body, a standard treatment at that time sewn in her body.
Doctor Myrick uses the principle of utility to defend his immoral actions during the film. The principle of utility is when a person makes a choice that is best for the most amount of people involved in the situation. He uses this tenet when talking to doctor Luthan about the ethical ideas involved in his experiment, because it will save millions despite killing the test subjects that are held beyond their will. In the movie we see signs of hedonism through doctor Myricks actions. His hedonistic views are seen as he tries to find pleasure in the horrible disease of paralysis.
It is clear that it is unfair for Agatha and the twins to be kept as possessions or mere cattle just because of a genetic anomaly. However, this society that uses the Pre-Crime system believes that a few can be sacrificed for the good of the many. This is the main problem with the utilitarianism view; the problem of cost-benefit analysis or the ends-justifies-the-means approach. Because the society in Minority Report trusts in Pre-Crime, they see people as numbers. A few hundred may face bad consequences, but a few million will face good consequences.