Henrietta Lacks and Health Care Leadership

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by jramos716, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. jramos716
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    jramos716 Rookie

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    In Skloot’s portrayal of the Lacks family, there is a lot personal information shared that could be considered embarrassing or intrusive. For example, according to her medical records, Henrietta likely contracted HPV and other STD’s from her husband which may have caused her to develop cancer (Skloot, 2010). Of course, this insinuates that Day Lacks was not faithful to his wife and could possibly be to blame for Henrietta getting cancer to begin with. It is never addressed further in the book, but I am curious to know if her children ever discussed this amongst themselves and if so, if there was any resentment towards their father.

    I agree with Christoph Lengauer that the story of Henrietta Lacks and who she was should be shared with the world. I believe that humans are naturally curious about the history of things and want to know the backstory. During the first couple years of HeLa’s discovery, there was much interest in where the cells came from. Journalists put a lot of pressure on Gey to share the story behind the cells and who they came from. The journalists and editors argued that the public had great interest in learning the history of the HeLa cells (Skloot, 2010). In the case of HeLa, these cells have affected almost everyone in the world with the invention of vaccines, DNA mapping, fertility treatments, drugs, and cancer research. I believe there is still great public interest today in knowing the history of HeLa cells. This is proven by the successful publication of Rebecca Skloot’s novel in 2010, as well as HBO’s production of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2017.

    Until reading this book, I did not know what HeLa cells were or how much the medical field was impacted by their discovery and use. The cells themselves are very interesting to learn about, but without the story behind where the cells come from, it would be hard to grasp the full significance. We live in a time now where informed consent, patient privacy, and HIPPA laws constitute how medical care is provided. However, when Henrietta Lacks was living in the 1950’s, these common day concepts were not around. Reading how patients were treated and how medical discoveries came about, regardless of how impactful they have been to the medical field, causes readers to reevaluate medical ethics.

    One way that medical professionals can prevent unethical practices is by adhering to patient privacy, patient authorization, and cultural sensitivity. It would be wise and beneficial for medical professionals to regularly receive training regarding ethical practices. In addition, study and review of past cases that involved ethical review could help professionals to evaluate best practice and make better decisions regarding their patients. For example, getting to know one’s patient and understanding their needs and wishes can improve probability of ethical practice. Another way that medical professionals can prevent unethical practices is by billing in accordance with guidelines and appropriately based on medical services rendered and documented. Overcharging or billing for services is a common unethical practice that has cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. Medical professionals should receive proper training to ensure they submit accurate charges and bills. Otherwise they risk committing medical fraud with fraudulent bills.
     
  2. Unkotare
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    Unkotare Diamond Member

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    Didn't someone post this exact same thing a few months back?
     
  3. Disir
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    Disir Gold Member

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    Yep. Not the exact same thing. But, right along the same lines.
     

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