Henrietta Lacks Ethical Issues

828 Words 4 Pages
Throughout recent history, humans have been told that they are given basic human rights. But do those rights really exist? In the novel The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks written by Rebecca Skloot, the main topics are consent to treatment and privacy. The government and people of higher power feel they are capable of revoking one’s rights, and this novel displays a perfect example of that. Social justice issues have been present in history for a very long time, and failure to provide someone with basic human rights falls under that, so what right’s does one really have? According to the Ontario Health Care Act, a health practitioner shall not administer the treatment without the patient's consent (Health Care Consent Act, 1996). This occurred in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman from the 1950’s, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer by Dr. Howard Jones in 1951. During her radiation treatments, doctors, including Richard Wesley TeLinde, removed two cervical samples from Lacks without her knowledge or consent. This was not particularly considered “treatment”, …show more content…
Unfortunately, Henrietta, nor her family, would ever see this money, because it was kept from them for over twenty years “But I always have thought it was strange, if our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can’t afford to see no doctor?”(Skloot, pg. 9). The day of Lacks’ first cancer treatment, was the day she would be used. While she was unconscious, “no one has told Henrietta that TeLinde was collecting samples or asked if she wanted to be a donor”(Skloot, pg. 33). On October 4, 1951, Henrietta passed away due to her cervical cancer. She would never discover that she was manipulated into being used for

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