Henrietta Lacks And The HeLa Cells

Henrietta Lacks was a thirty-one year old woman that visited Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in 1951. She was an African-American mother of five. Johns Hopkins was the only hospital in the area that treated African Americans, although the hospital was still segregated at the time. While there, doctors confirmed she had cervical cancer. Lacks received numerous treatments including radium. Unfortunately, Henrietta died on October 4, 1951 from terminal uremia. This is a condition that caused blood poisoning from toxins that would normally be flushed out when a person urinated.

Prior to her death, doctors took a sample of the cancer cells and gave them to George Guy, a researcher at Johns Hopkins who was studying cervical cancer. Dr. Guy had not had any success with keeping cancer cells alive until the sample from Henrietta Lacks. He and his associates soon noticed that not only were the cells surviving, they were doubling every 20 to 24 hours. Within days, Dr. Guy had so many cells he chose to share them with other universities and researchers. He named the cells HeLa and gave them away, never asking for money in return. Since that time, HeLa cells have been used to research many different diseases including cancer, HIV, and even polio.

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When the polio epidemic was just beginning, researchers were having a difficult time creating a vaccine. One of the biggest problems was the lack of polio itself. Soon they discovered that injecting polio into the HeLa cells would not kill the cells, but would in fact clone the polio to create more. This allowed vaccine developers a chance to perfect the vaccine, and save countless lives.

For many years the HeLa patient was kept confidential. No one but Dr. Guy knew the original patient’s name. He even gave a fake name at one time, Helen Lane. Eventually in the 1970’s, it was revealed that the true identity was Henrietta Lacks. Her family had never known the biopsy was taken, and subsequently never knew the impact she had on science and medicine. Since that time, hospitals have been required to get informed consent before using biopsies for research purposes.


Abumrad, J. (Host). (2010, May 16). Henrietta’s Tumor [Audio blog post]. Retrieved March 9, 2019, from https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/91716-henriettas-tumor

Butanis, B. (2017, April 12). The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/henriettalacks/index.html

Zielinski, S. (2010, January 22). Henrietta Lacks’ ‘Immortal’ Cells. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/henrietta-lacks-immortal-cells-6421299/

Business Ethics- Article Review

According to the article Do the right thing! Developing ethical behavior in financial institutions by Fichter, the increased concerned about the unethical behavior among the employees in financial institutions is a major concern for managers and employers in this sector. The article feels that the alignment of organizational systems and processes with corporate values and the roles and responsibility of the corporate leader in the creation of ethical standards and the culture of an organization can play a significant part in curbing these unethical behaviors.

The integration of the employees, the employer and the values of the company into the formulation of the ethical culture of a company offers the blueprint and the sense of direction that helps to make the ethical decisions at work (Fichter, 2018).

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To decrease the hole between formal moral models and genuine practices in the day by day activities of an organization and the formation of a culture that advances morals, associations need to give careful consideration to the representative conduct of challenging the authority, creating chances for discourse, valuing positive emotions, making time for reflection, rewarding ethical behavior, strengthening escalation process, eliciting feedback and establishing a learning culture in a company (Fichter, 2018).

Ethical decision making is a challenging task, especially when an employee lacks the necessary information that can assist in making the decision, but there is always a way that any effective organizational leader can promote ethics in the workplace by providing information that can help in informed decision making. The contemporary thinking out business ethics places leaders at the center of the ethical behavior of employees in an organization.

According to the article, the role of the organizational leader also contains a moral component and should act as a role model for other employees in an organization to follow (Burton, 2010). As the overall manager of an organization, organizational leaders have an obligation of training the employees and developing a learning culture that enlightens the employees of the importance of ethics in an organization and providing relevant information necessary for ethical decision making.

The article also provides two adult learning theories, transformative learning and informal learning which contribute to the attainment of ethical culture in an organization and the manager is at the center of all these learning processes. Therefore, it is safe to state that the article significantly contributes to the knowledge concerning contemporary thinking about business ethics (Fichter, 2018).

The information obtained in this article can be used to formulate and implement an ethical culture in an organization as well as providing the organizational leader with a significant role in influencing the ethical behavior of the employees in their organizations. Apart from assisting the leaders to understand their role in an organization, the information in the article can also be used to formulate and design transformative and informal learning that is important in helping the employees to cultivate an ethical culture (Burton, 2010).

Besides, each employee can now understand his or her role in the organization and how their behavior affects the overall perception of the company. The article perfectly fits my ethical view, as the leaders have a larger to play in influencing the ethical behavior of the employees in an organization, irrespective of the industry. The leaders should fully understand the ethics of an organization and have an obligation of teaching the employees how they can behave ethically in an organization (Burton, 2010). However, each employee, including the manager has to be accountable for their behaviors and conduct in the workplace.

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