Henrietta Lacks Debate
The “Your First Year” faculty panel, really helped me to get a better understanding of the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Dr. McConner talked about how there was no informed consent like there would have to be today, and if you didn’t someone would probably get sued. It was also a different time period where you didn’t even speak of the word “cancer”. Henrietta was getting her health care for “free”. By free it was in exchange for her cells.
Dr. Brown- Jeffy also makes a good point by saying that even now we aren’t allowed to keep the things that the hospital takes from us. If a doctor removes one of your kidneys you cannot ask to keep it. The same even goes for a placenta after giving birth, you would have to pay for the hospital to keep it. These things came from us but somehow they aren’t ours to keep, although we don’t seem to care as long as we feel better. She also mentions that Lacks family stayed in poverty while all of these scientists and other people were making money off of Henrietta’s cells. You could say that this sounds extremely unethical. Henrietta’s family was not very educated, therefore when someone would talk about cells they would think it was like a foreign language. Not until long after the cells were taken did the family actually understand what the HeLa cells were being used for.
The main question in debate over this book is whether or not the Lacks family should have been compensated in