Region of Waterloo Library discussion

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
18 views
Feb 2015: Henrietta Lacks > Ethics and Legalities in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by RWL (new)

RWL Waterloo Library (regionofwaterloolibrary) | 162 comments Mod
What are the specific issues raised in the book—legally and ethically? Talk about the 1980s John Moore case: the appeal court decision and its reversal by the California Supreme Court.


Christine (cmnb) | 54 comments I'm only in part 2 so I haven't gotten to that part yet but I'll be honest that I have conflicting thoughts over the matter. It's terrible that she wasn't asked permission before having her cells removed but if she had been and if she had refused, how would it have impeded the many medical discoveries that have occurred as a result of having those cells. Of course, I believe her family should be compensated. But I also can't help but be thankful that the medical field has had them for research.


message 3: by YZ (new) - rated it 5 stars

YZ | 21 comments This book really affected me. There is such a huge combination of race relations and lack of respect for patients, with physicians acting like gods. I cannot believe that Mrs. Lacks was the only individual whose cells went viral. But she was the only one whose cells were harvested and then used to benefit, firstly, individuals, before they helped society. Its the chicken and egg thing all over again. And greed.


message 4: by RWL (new)

RWL Waterloo Library (regionofwaterloolibrary) | 162 comments Mod
YZ wrote: "This book really affected me. There is such a huge combination of race relations and lack of respect for patients, with physicians acting like gods. I cannot believe that Mrs. Lacks was the only in..."

The role race plays is interesting to consider. Do you think things would have been different if she were white? Do you think economic status could also have played a role?


message 5: by RWL (new)

RWL Waterloo Library (regionofwaterloolibrary) | 162 comments Mod
Christine wrote: "I'm only in part 2 so I haven't gotten to that part yet but I'll be honest that I have conflicting thoughts over the matter. It's terrible that she wasn't asked permission before having her cells r..."

It does complicate things by the fact that so many medical discoveries have resulted from using those cells. It brings up the old question 'do the ends justify the means.' What are you thoughts on that point? Is it something that needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis?


Christine (cmnb) | 54 comments RWL wrote: "Christine wrote: "I'm only in part 2 so I haven't gotten to that part yet but I'll be honest that I have conflicting thoughts over the matter. It's terrible that she wasn't asked permission before ..."

No, the ends do not justify the means. There has to be clear lines that are not crossed. It's purely an emotional response looking back and seeing how valuable those cells were. It's astounding to know that there were laws/practices in place to protect research animals decades before protections for humans.


message 7: by YZ (new) - rated it 5 stars

YZ | 21 comments Christine wrote: "RWL wrote: "Christine wrote: "I'm only in part 2 so I haven't gotten to that part yet but I'll be honest that I have conflicting thoughts over the matter. It's terrible that she wasn't asked permis..."

This is one of those cases where truth is stranger than fiction. When I tell people what this book is about (and I do quite regularly) they don't believe it. Its quite amazing, really.


Heather Pearson (heatherpearson) | 53 comments I started reading this last evening and find it very compelling. yes, there were lots of wrong things done, but I wonder, Henriette possibly would have said yes to donating her cells. My reason for saying this, it that my dad participated in many drug trials during his life, hoping to help others. When he passed away, without being asked, I gave his doctor permission to take and use any part of his body that her needed to help with his research. Since we had a closed casket, I have no idea what amount, if any of his body was returned. i don't have a problem with that as it might help many others . He had a more rare form of cancer,


message 9: by RWL (new)

RWL Waterloo Library (regionofwaterloolibrary) | 162 comments Mod
Christine wrote: "RWL wrote: "Christine wrote: "I'm only in part 2 so I haven't gotten to that part yet but I'll be honest that I have conflicting thoughts over the matter. It's terrible that she wasn't asked permis..."

It is a good (and disturbing) point that there were laws protecting research animals before humans. How do you think that came to be?


message 10: by RWL (new)

RWL Waterloo Library (regionofwaterloolibrary) | 162 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I started reading this last evening and find it very compelling. yes, there were lots of wrong things done, but I wonder, Henriette possibly would have said yes to donating her cells. My reason f..."

That's another interesting thought as well. It's easy to lose the patient when one is considering the ethics of the practice. How would you feel if you were in her position?


Heather Pearson (heatherpearson) | 53 comments Personally, I am all for donating cells/blood for scientific research as long as i am asked. without being asked, that is horrible, just plain wrong.


Christine (cmnb) | 54 comments It's very interesting to know that our discarded human waste, removed from surgery, etc. may be kept and that we forfeit all rights to it when we agree to the procedure.


Heather Pearson (heatherpearson) | 53 comments i found this very interesting as well. I was under the impression that it was all burned. I did know that umbilical cords are diverted for??? (can't recall what, but I have heard there is a market for them and the blood they contain). No one ever asked me if they could use them after the birth of my children.


message 14: by RWL (new)

RWL Waterloo Library (regionofwaterloolibrary) | 162 comments Mod
It's a little disconcerting that they can take part of you without your permission.


back to top