Immortal Henrietta - Ethics in Biomedical Research

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Henrietta Lacks was a strong African-American woman, who died because of cancer without knowing that her cells were immortal and very useful for medical research. Her family lived a poverty life without health care, when her cell was commercialized all around the world. How this can be happened? It related to the ethics of biomedical research and the real meaning of consent. Henrietta was born on August 1, 1920 in Roanoke, Virginia. Her mother died when she delivered her tenth child. Because of losing her mother, Henrietta ended up to stay with her grandfather, Tommy Lacks. However, Henrietta Grandfather raised another grandchild already. The child name was David Lack and people called him Day. Henrietta and Day shared a bedroom since she was four years old. That’s why, Henrietta first son was born when she just turn fourteen years old. And her second son was born four years later. On April 10, 1941, Henrietta and Day married; they were twenty and twenty five respectively. Henrietta and Day work very hard to feed the family. The work is tough as the black man do the job that white man will never do. Day and Henrietta planted tobacco seedling. Henrietta literally put the tobacco seed in a hole of red dirt. One day, a week after delivering her third baby, Henrietta found something strange in her vagina. There is a lump deep inside and hurting her. First, Henrietta ignore it, however she continuously had an abnormal bleeding even though it was not her menstrual period. Finally, the local doctor suggested her to go to Johns Hopkins Hospital. This hospital was a good hospital for poor people built in 1889. This hospital also treat black people even most of hospital was white-only hospital. Day drove Henrietta about twenty miles awa... ... middle of paper ... ...eration. It is not about the commissions for the family who give up any tissues or organs, but it is about the ethic of treatment or even the ethic of biomedical research. In fact, Henrietta families were in need and may otherwise receive less help. It will be really helpful if people who received any advantages from HeLa able to share the benefit to Henrietta’s family. Since Henrietta already died, her family should have a right to prove or disapprove anything related to her. Currently, Henrietta has finally received some recognition. After sixty years, her grave has a headstone. There is a foundations of Henrietta Lacks found by Skloot that concern in educate people about Lacks and to help Henrietta’s family and also others in need. Her kids were raised by her husband by helped from Ethel and Galen. However, they grew up hungry because Ethel treats them poorly.

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