Compare and Contrast Essay on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.





Compare and Contrast Essay

Tuskegee University was an institution which trained only African Americans. It is the University which conducted one of the most controversial studies in healthcare in the last century. The study involved a review of syphilis progression and treatment. Although the condition was not treatable at the time, in the 1940s, the penicillin tests indicated that the drug could be useful in the treatment of the disease. Unfortunately, the researchers failed to inform the participants of the new cure, and they also studied them without informing them. They withheld treatment which would have saved the lives of these individuals.

Henrietta Lacks the institution used a woman whose cells were taken by an institution without informing her. Her cells were used for studies including cloning, gene mapping and other genetic studies (Miranda and David Jesse Sanchez 232). It is essential to note that most studies in cytology have been based on the analysis of genes from the woman commonly referred HeLa. Unfortunately, the whole process had happened without her consent, and she did not even know that her genes were so useful in science including her death.

The two cases have similarities and differences. One of the main similarities is that in both cases, the participants were not involved in making decisions. HeLa was not asked for her consent to have her genes taken by the researchers for any studies (Miranda and David Jesse Sanchez 232). It is notable that she remained in the dark until she died and there are no benefits that were received by her or her children despite the immense contributions her cells brought and continues to bring to medicine. Today, there are billions of genes cloned from her original cells, and they are used in healthcare, reaping profits for the researchers yet even her children do not have health care insurance (Njoku 286). In the Tuskegee research, the participants also did not benefit from the studies conducted on their bodies. Additionally, they were also not uninformed to give their consent, and neither were they involved in the decision making processes involving their conditions.

In yet another similarity between the two, the studies indicate that there was a blatant abuse of the African Americans in health care studies. In both cases, the participants were African Americans, and they were all involved in studies that they did not give consent to, and hence it proves bias in healthcare (Njoku 286). It is imperative to note that a conclusion may be made about the studies which could indicate that the individuals were used as lab animals. For instance, there are not differences in human genes, and a white person would have been used as the source of genes. However, they settled on the black person because of bias since it is the hierarchy they utilized in studies so that after tests had been successful in mice, they went to apes and a black person before they can use the studies positively on the white people. The same case applied to the black men studied for syphilis.

The main difference between the studies is that the Tuskegee study was later discontinued and it led to changes in the medical and clinical studies format yet the case of HeLa has not had any progress regarding finding justice for her and her family despite the benefits it has introduced in healthcare. It is also notable to see that he HeLa study continues to be beneficial to the world.



Works Cited

Miranda Jr, Daniel, and David Jesse Sanchez. “The Tuskegee Experiment: An Introduction in Ethics for Pre-Healthcare Professional Students.” Journal of microbiology & biology education 15.2 (2014): 232.

Njoku, Dolores B. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Anesthesia & Analgesia 117.1 (2013): 286.