During Skloot and Deborah’s meeting with Christoph Lengauer, Lengauer emphasizes the importance of Henrietta Lacks’s contribution to science and how she is remembered in the medical community. Langauer states, “Whenever we read books about science, it’s always HeLa this and HeLa that. Some people know those are the initials of a person, but they don’t know who that person is. That’s important history.”
Write a 525- to 700-word article that addresses the following:
- Evaluate whether the book effectively illustrates the significance of Henrietta Lacks’s life, her contributions to science, and their impact on her family. Answer the following questions in your evaluation:
- Are there problematic elements as to how Skloot portrays Lacks and her family?
- Do you agree with Lengauer’s quote that it is important to know about Henrietta Lacks? Why or why not?
- Explain how learning about Henrietta Lacks’s story helped you become a more ethical leader.
- Provide 2 to 3 examples of what medical professionals can do to prevent unethical practices.
Use 3 examples from the book to support your response and cite the novel.
Publish the article on your own social media account (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), or post it on a health care message board of your choice.
Include a citation of your article in your assignment.
Expert Solution Preview
The book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot follows the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cancerous cells were taken without her knowledge and used in scientific research. The book raises important questions about medical ethics, informed consent, and the impact of scientific discoveries on individuals and their families. In this article, we will evaluate whether the book effectively illustrates the significance of Henrietta Lacks’s life, her contributions to science, and their impact on her family.
The book effectively illustrates the significance of Henrietta Lacks’s life and her contributions to science. Skloot portrays Lacks as a person, not just a set of cells. The book provides context about Lacks’s life, her family, and the historical context of medical research in the 1950s. Skloot shows how Lacks’s cells, known as HeLa cells, have been instrumental in numerous medical breakthroughs, including the development of the polio vaccine and AIDS drugs.
However, there are some problematic elements in how Skloot portrays Lacks and her family. Skloot seems to have formed a close relationship with Lacks’s daughter Deborah, which is evident in the amount of time Skloot spends with Deborah and the amount of detail Skloot includes about Deborah’s personal life. This relationship could be seen as exploitative, as Skloot is benefiting from Deborah’s emotional attachment to her mother’s story. Additionally, Skloot’s portrayal of Lacks’s husband, Day, is somewhat biased, as Skloot presents him as a neglectful husband and father.
Overall, while the book highlights the significance of Henrietta Lacks’s story, it is important to recognize the potentially harmful elements of the book’s portrayal of Lacks and her family.
Lengauer’s quote about the importance of knowing about Henrietta Lacks is accurate. Lacks’s story is a crucial part of the history of medical research and raises important questions about ethics, informed consent, and the balance between scientific progress and individual rights. Knowing about Lacks’s story helps us understand these issues on a deeper level and raises awareness about the ongoing struggle for more ethical medical practices.
Learning about Henrietta Lacks’s story has helped me become a more ethical leader. It has made me realize the importance of respecting individuals’ rights and making informed consent a priority. It has also shown me the importance of transparency and honesty in medical research and practice.
Medical professionals can prevent unethical practices by following a few key practices. First, they must prioritize informed consent and ensure that patients understand the risks and benefits of any procedure or treatment. Second, medical professionals should be transparent about their research and how it will be used. They should also prioritize the privacy and confidentiality of their patients’ information. Third, medical professionals must be aware of the power dynamics inherent in their profession and make an effort to avoid exploiting vulnerable individuals.
Three examples from the book that support these practices are:
1. Henrietta Lacks’s cells were taken without her knowledge or consent. This highlights the importance of informed consent and respecting individuals’ rights.
2. Skloot’s relationship with Deborah Lacks could be seen as exploitative. This shows the importance of transparency and avoiding exploitative power dynamics in medical research.
3. The way Day Lacks is portrayed in the book highlights the importance of prioritizing patients’ privacy and confidentiality.
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” effectively illustrates the significance of Henrietta Lacks’s life and her contributions to science. However, there are some problematic elements in how Lacks and her family are portrayed. Learning about Lacks’s story can help us become more ethical leaders by emphasizing the importance of informed consent, transparency, and avoiding exploitative power dynamics. Medical professionals can prevent unethical practices by prioritizing informed consent, transparency, privacy, and avoiding exploitation.