The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I agree that the doctor’s act was unethical because Henrietta had been sedated so that she could undergo the operation; hence, she was unconscious at the time the tissues were extracted (Rebecca 33). Thus, taking advantage of Henrietta’s unconsciousness was very unethical. Secondly, I support the fact that Lack’s family should be given the compensation because they could have similar genetic characteristics. Thirdly, the compensation value should take into account the time- period over which the body cells were used to accomplish the experiments. In response to the question regarding changes that have taken place on the treatment of human subjects, I support that indeed there have been fundamental changes in the manner in which human subjects are treated. For example, presently, in the domain of tissue or organ transplants, the issue of consent is taken seriously.

Post-Reflection Entry: First,  as much as the doctor’s action is unethical, he is partly justified. The doctor extracted tissues from Henrietta’s cervix and the tumor (Rebecca 33). In this regard, the action of removing a sample of removing the tumor tissue was justified, but the action of removing the uncontaminated tissue from cervix lining was unjustified. Indeed, before removing the uncontaminated tissue, the doctor must have had second thoughts regarding the ethical appropriateness of this action. Secondly, Lack’s family deserves the compensation as long as they can prove that they have similar genetic characteristics in their genes; hence, relying on the legal basis of being a next of kin does not necessarily qualify them. Thirdly, the compensation value should be commensurate to the time - period that the experiments were conducted. I also support the fact that Henrietta’s case strengthened the existing ethical framework governing the treatment of human subjects. 

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