Henrietta Lacks Ethical Issues

932 Words4 Pages
According to the CDC “Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection and control of infectious diseases.” Public health has multiple sub-areas, one including ethical behavior. There is no doubt that HeLa have helped to improve the lives of millions, but the way in which the original cells were obtained is continuously unsettling. What resounded with me in the novel The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks were the entwined accounts of Henrietta Lacks' miserable life and her only living daughter Deborah's quest for learning about the mother she never knew. Also there was something else. The passage on the title page of Skloot's book reads, "Doctors took her cells without asking." within fold proceeds with, "Henrietta’s family did not learn of her ‘immortality’ until more than 20 years after her death, when…show more content…
Meanwhile, bio-technology laboratories and academic research institutions grew rich from the continually dividing HeLa cells while the Lacks family endured continuing poverty and deprivation. Although, in relation to “tissue excised for clinical purposes and tissue donated for research, courts have concluded that patients and other research study participants do not retain ownership rights of the excised tissue.” (National Center for Biotechnology Information) Although her family received no benefit for the use and popularity of her cells seems morally wrong, by law Henrietta nor her family possessed ownership. Therefore, we can only focus on the major issue in her case, there was no informed

More about Henrietta Lacks Ethical Issues

Open Document