The Story Of Henrietta Lacks And Her Family

1541 Words7 Pages
The story of Henrietta Lacks and her family is one that raises many questions about ethics, consent, medical treatment, and family rights. The decisions made by the scientists and doctors surrounding HeLa research have had lasting impacts in the Lacks family. The question I have chosen to address is what change would have helped the Lacks children the most. I feel the most influential piece to the Lacks children’s suffering was being raised by Ethel. This portion of their life was filled with physical and emotional abuse that led to destructive behavior. This behavior would also play a role in the anger toward HeLa researchers and anyone else who did harm to the family or left them in the dark. Although questions about their mother, financial struggles, and marrying within the family were issues that affected the children’s genes, health, and family dynamics, the wrath of Ethel had the most lasting effect on each child. Joe ended up with furious rage that not only landed him in prison, but also kept him from getting a decent job or home. Sonny turned to drugs and violence after attempting to break free and live on his own. Deborah lived in constant fear that something bad would happen, and later in life she constantly broke out in hives from all of the worrying she did about her family. While many other factors played a role in the lives of the Lacks children, without being raised by Ethel the children may have stood a better chance at leading successful and healthy lives. The lacks children didn’t have a great start to their life after their Mother vanished from their lives. In one option to the question I chose to address, it was implied that simply knowing what exactly had happened to their mother could have impacted the Lac... ... middle of paper ... ...buse that was stowed upon the children had the greatest affect on not only their current state of mind, but also their health. The poor health of the whole family led to increased costs that they could not keep up with. It also led Joe down a dangerous path, perpetuated Deborah into a worrisome soul, and left all of the children with horrid memories of a childhood that was already filled with grief from the loss of their Mother. I feel that these long-term effects are proof that having Ethel as a caretaker was by far the most damaging. Changing this aspect of the children’s lives would have had the most positive impact on the lives of the Lacks children. It would have led to less stress, less malnutrition, less anger and worry, and fewer health costs. These improvements alone could have turned the children down a path that would have encouraged a better life. This
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