Summary Of The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

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Self Determination & Informed Consent In Rebecca Skloot’s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the Lacks family faced many challenges as the result of segregation and discrimination prominent in the time era. The values and ethical principles that social workers practice today would have benefited the Lacks family greatly. When Henrietta fell ill it was common practice for patients, especially African American female patients, to not question the doctors word. According to Skloot doctors practiced “benevolent deception” this allowed for doctors to deny the patients fundamental information about their health, some doctors would withhold diagnosis from patients all together (Skloot, 2010, p.63). The doctors justified this type of practice …show more content…

It was common for individuals that are mentally challenged to be institutionalized and once Elsie became too big for Henrietta to handle on her own the doctors recommended sending her away to Crownsville State Hospital (formerly known as the hospital for the negro insane) in order for Henrietta to be able to raise her other children (Skloot, 2010, p. 45). Some of the records available from Crownsville Hospital give an insight into the practices and conditions within the hospital. Records from 1948 show that the death rate was higher than the discharge rate of patients and in 1955, the year that Elsie passed away, the hospital had over 800 above the maximum …show more content…

The obligation of a social worker is to be aware of individual differences as well as cultural and ethnic diversity while treating each client in a kind and courteous manner (Kirst-Ashman, & Hull, 2012, p. 412). In relation to the ethical principle of Clients who Lack Decision Making Capacity (1.14) the obligation of a social worker is to protect the rights of individuals who have been deemed “legally incompetent”. Everything done by the social worker should be in the best interest of that client (Kirst-Ashman, & Hull, 2012, p. 402). The core value of Social Justice is important do address because it ties in to many parts of the book. Social change efforts from the social worker are necessary in order to promote knowledge and cultural competency about the injustices and discrimination of individuals incarcerated in Crownsville hospital as well as the injustices and discrimination of Henrietta and the rest of her family (Kirst-Ashman, & Hull, 2012, p.

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