Henrietta Lacks Ethics

Words: 630
Pages: 3

Each day our heart beats through the connection to the brain. Millions of cells make up every body part. We take pride in our daily actions, but often don’t appreciate the extent to which how beautiful our bodies really are. As for Henrietta Lacks, she lived a beautiful life, and had it stolen in a matter of seconds. The property rights over her biological matters caused by cervical cancer were vanished by one doctor in a blink of an eye. “HeLa” became more than a name; it was the test subject used to conduct scientific research all over the world. To explain the history of HeLa in further detail, Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, wrote her novel to investigate the ethics within the medical field. In a personal conversation between Skloot and Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah stated, “Who are we supposed to trust now?” Doctors all over the world used HeLa cells to make advancements in science without knowledge of the Lacks family. In the years of 1947 and 1957, the Nuremberg Codes and informed consent confronted the issue of miscommunication and consent given between the patient and the doctor through civil court cases. The Lacks family, however, as mentioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, had few legal options. Although …show more content…
George Gey, head of tissue-culture research at John Hopkins, began the research conducted on the HeLa cells. It was he who grew the first immortal human cells ever grown in a lab. His research also led to the creation of his chicken bleeding technique for culture medium motion. As Gey’s “precious babies,” the HeLa cells, became more developed, Gey worked to ship the cells throughout the country. Eventually, Gey became frustrated by the over-expansion of the immortal cells. The HeLa cells were the staple of scientific and medical advancements. If it weren’t for Gey’s stealing of Henrietta’s cells, the medical field throughout the world might still be in the same place it was many years