During the 1900's, a women named Henrietta Lacks came to John Hopkins hospital to be treated for a form of cancer she had. The Doctors who were attending to her took some of her cells to study but found out shortly after that her cells were "immortal." So, for fear that her family would not give medical consent, they decided to keep her cells in secret without letting her family know. This not only went against the basic right of medical consent but also a form of privacy that Henrietta Lacks seemed to not obtain throughout her visits to Hopkins and after her death.
Since she is an African American AND just died before she gave me medical consent I believe I can use her immortal cells without telling her family!
That sounds like a great idea, Doctor Gey
Oh my gosh! So many people want my HeLa cells.... I'M GOING TO BE RICH AND FAMOUS!
Oh my- I can't believe what I just read. Apparently Henrietta's cells are still being used without our consent! We aren't even getting any money from her cells while that doctor is getting it all!
WOW look at all this money I have made from stealing those cells!
We can barely afford to pay for our new tractor to help with the cotton fields. If only we got some of Henrietta's cell money to help our own family.
This example, as seen in the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, shows how medical consent can hurt not only the ones undergoing surgery but also their loved ones.