The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Ethical Analysis

Improved Essays
In "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", Rebecca Skloot provides an informational insider on the life of Henrietta Lacks- pointing out the ethical issues in Henrietta's operative. Henrietta, a woman who unknowingly had her tissue cells removed from her cervix by scientists were being used in wide-spread research. After reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", I started researching and came upon an article titled "Patient Safety: The Ethical Imperative". I began making connections that demonstrated and explained the problems that were present in the novel and in the article; however, many people want to argue that what is believed to be "unethical" isn't actually wrong.

Throughout the novel, a variety of ethical issues are present
…show more content…
In some cases nurses and/or doctors make a mistake in prosecuting a patient's safety, they must take action; "Disclose the error to the patient." Unlike in Henrietta's case no one had told her the side effects of her treatments and she was unaware that her doctors had made multiple errors in her diagnostic; "Until that moment, Henrietta didn't know her that the treatments had left her infertile." Vicki collaborates in "Patient Safety: The Ethical Imperative", "As a patient's advocate, the nurse must speak to the appropriate person of higher authority when incompetent, unethical, illegal, or impaired practice is noted in any health care professional." For example, when TeLinde was collecting samples, no one objected not even the nurses but Dr. Lawrence Wharton jr. had the liberty to write it down on a SEPARATE sheet of paper in her records. The actions that were taken didn't just affect Henrietta but her family as well especially her daughter Deborah. Henrietta's family didn't even find out about her cells till a few years later and they don't even have medical insurance, many said they should-be been given credit; "patients and, when appropriate, their families are informed about the outcomes of care, treatment, and services that have been provided including unanticipated outcomes." Plus, they misdiagnosed her cancer since it was much more severe than

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Essay On Henrietta Lacks

    • 1076 Words
    • 5 Pages

    She knew something was wrong and did not want to be sick. But, was Henrietta told the whole truth before and during her treatments? Henrietta was never told the truth about her cells being taken and given to Gey to use for other medical research, Mrs. Lacks was also not told that these treatments she was going through would leave her infertile (Skloot, 2010). However, before her treatments she did sign a paper given to her by her doctors saying “loss of the reproductive function” (Skloot, 2010).…

    • 1076 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    They did not practice autonomy, which is to address that the patient truly understands the procedure which is going to be done. Also, they took advantage of her lack of education by not informing her rights. Ignorance about one’s health can lead people to make desperate decisions concerning their health. Since Henrietta and her family did not know better, she assumed that the doctors were doing the right procedures to get her healed. Although she signed the consent form, I don’t believe Henrietta, or her family knew about what the doctors would do to her.…

    • 1360 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The case of Jeanette is a legal and ethical problem. When Jeanette called the hospital regarding how she was having difficulty breathing and the receptionist failed to respond back to the doctor and Jeanette about the patient symptom so it was the receptionist and hospital responsibility to train every employee with policies and regulation since it failed to do so it can be conducted as a civil case. The second step Is it balanced? Yes, Jeanette case does have an advantage over the hospital and the receptionist. The patient called the office concerning about a life-threatening symptom instead of leaving Jeanette unseen she could’ve called the paramedics to check Jeanette places.…

    • 1195 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Furthermore, we as healthcare providers took an oath (the Hippocratic Oath) to help the sick but never use it to injure them or wrong them. However, in this film, the doctors tried to push Dr. Bearing to her limits. Though she has been tough all throughout her therapy, they’ve neglected her feelings as a person to feel hurt just to be in touch with their plan of experiment. They’ve neglected…

    • 816 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Informed Consent Principal was diminished because the gynecologist, Dr. Howard Jones, removed cancer cells from Henrietta Lacks and sent them to another doctor, Dr. Gey, to conduct research without her or her family’s consent to do so before hand. Although it is illegal now, there was no ethical laws preventing doctors from removing tissue from a live patient; however, there were laws against removing tissue and cells from a deceased patient. Mary Kubicek removed tumor tissue from Henrietta at the request of Dr. Gey and the family had only given consent to perform an autopsy, not removal of the tissue. (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot). After receiving the cells from Dr. Jones, Dr. Gey named Henrietta’s cells “HeLa” in order to conceal the identity of the cells from her family as well as from the world, and claimed to receive the cells from a “Helen Lane”.…

    • 882 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Henrietta Lacks Critique

    • 1916 Words
    • 8 Pages

    But the sad part of this story, is that the original source, Henrietta Lacks was unknown and her family never knew these cells existed. This book tells two stories; the first is the story of the development of the HeLa cell line and of Henrietta Lacks and her descendants. Critique Henrietta Lacks was lying unconscious on the operating table. When she signed her consent form before her operation it only stated that she gives the John Hopkins staff permission to perform any operative procedures. With that being said Dr. Wharton removed two samples of her tissue from her cervix without even notifying her.…

    • 1916 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Her immortal cells will always continue to live on, but only after Henrietta and her family faced many obstacles. Henrietta lived her life being exploited by researchers. Her or her family never got any recognition or compensation for Henrietta 's role and contribution to Science via the HeLa cell line. Doctors also abused their power and acted inhumanely when caring for her and trying to treat her cancer by taking the cells in the first place. Not much of anything that was done to Henrietta Lacks by doctors and researchers could be justified.…

    • 1232 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Then, when Victor Mckusick had the Lacks family give blood in 1974, it was not explained in an understandable manner to the family that the blood was being used for genetic examination to be compared to HeLa cells (Schloot, 2010). This failure in communication left Deborah Henriette’s daughter anxiously awaiting what she thought were test results to determine if she had cancer too, results that never came (Schloot, 2010). Mckusick also provided Deborah with material to learn about her mother’s cells that were far above her capacity to understand with only minimal education, and he did not take the time to explain it to her (Schloot, 2010). Because of these two incidents, and others, the family did not understand what was going on with Henrietta’s cells. They thought part of Henrietta, as in Henrietta herself not the cells, were still alive (Schloot, 2010).…

    • 1826 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot displays the controversy as to whether or not the public has a responsibility to support scientific progress at all costs. This controversy became evident after Henrietta Lacks’ cervical tissues were taken from her body without her consent and then her cells, which became immortal, were used for medical research everywhere and her family did not know about it. These cells have helped the medical field in many ways, including creating a vaccine for the polio virus. Yet these cells were still taken without Henrietta’s consent, and her family suffered greatly as the cost. The public does not have a responsibility to be forced to support scientific progress…

    • 1016 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This was the first time the family was told about the use of Henrietta’s cells. Since a large portion of her family was uneducated, it was very difficult for her family to comprehend what was really going on. Her family was never compensated. Henrietta’s family could not even afford health insurance, yet the whole world has benefited from Henrietta’s cells. Science writer Rebecca Skloot took a significant interest in the Henrietta Lacks story and gained trust in Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, and the family to explore all aspects of Henrietta’s unknown life.…

    • 868 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays