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Unethical Medical Ethics: The Story of HeLa

Submitted by mkomtangi on Thu, 03/29/2018 - 10:16

HeLa cells were stolen from Henrietta Lacks without her knowledge or full consent, while she was in John Hopkins hospital seeking radium treatment for her cervical cancer, scientist George Gey sought the opportunity, while Henrietta was unconscious during surgery, to have a surgeon collect her cancerous tissue cells to be used for his research on growing a human immortal cell line. To Gey’s astonishment the cells grew perfectly and survived longer than any of the cells he had cultured before, and the rest is scientific history. Yet what science seems to forget is the woman behind the cells and how unethical scientific research was during the 1950’s to the early 1990’s. During that forty year time span many critical and obstructive research occurred all over the United States and possibly all over the world with no laws or pre-dispositions to help regulate the safety and prosperity of the subjects.