PSY 305 Week 4 Ethical Principles Essays

Words: 1353
Pages: 6

Ethical Principles
Sara M. Covey
PSY 305
February 25, 2015
Dr. Sheila Rapa

Ethical Principles For this week’s assignment I am to discuss ethical principles, specifically the ethical principles that were violated during the research in regards to Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks was a wife and a mother of five. She was a black tobacco farmer and was a native of rural southern Virginia but a resident of Turner Station in Dundalk, MD. Henrietta had mentioned to family that she had felt a “knot” inside her while pregnant with her fifth child but her family just assumed that it was due to the pregnancy. After giving birth, Henrietta started bleeding abnormally and profusely. Her local doctor tested her for syphilis, which
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The family questioned this sudden interest and requests for blood which led to them learn about the removal of Henrietta’s cells. (Batts, 2010) Henrietta’s cells were later commercialized. In the 1980’s, family medical records were published without family consent. A similar issue was brought up in the Supreme Court of California case of Moore v. Regents of the University of California. On July 9, 1990, the court ruled that a person’s discarded tissue and cells are not their property and can be commercialized. (Skloot, 2000) In March 2013, German researchers published the DNA code, or genome, of a strain of HeLa cells without permission from the Lacks family. (Ritter, 2013) Later, in August 2013, an agreement by the family and the National Institutes of Health was announced that gave the family some control over access to the cells’ DNA code and a promise of acknowledgement in scientific papers.
Some people question the ethics of how the family was notified. Henrietta’s husband, who had a third-grade education, was called by a doctor one day and began to speak about how they had his wife’s cells. He did not even understand what a cell was. The way he understood the phone call was: “We’ve got your wife. She’s alive in a laboratory. We’ve been doing research on her for the last 25 years. And now we have to test your kids to see if they have cancer.” (Zielinski, 2010, Cracking the Code of the Human Genome: Henrietta