Throughout the story, Henrietta Lacks and her family has been violated countless times.  Many of the reasons the doctors said they didn’t ask for permission to do various things was because they didn’t feel it was really necessary.  Her race might have played a key role in Henrietta not getting the correct treatment she deserved.  Some of the ways Henrietta’s privacy was invaded was when her cells were taken and distributed without her consent, when Jones and other Hopkin’s colleagues wrote an article revealing the identity of woman the HeLa cells came from, and how Gey purposely kept the family out throughout the whole process of Henrietta being treated and even after the fact that she died.

 Throughout this essay we will explore ways that Henrietta and other individuals just like her have also experience similar scenario’s all involving the invasion of privacy.Privacy is a very precious thing to people as individuals.  Some examples of how Henrietta’s privacy was violated was when Berg wanted to release a magazine article more in depth about the HeLa cells and link the actual name of the patient with the cells to create a more intriguing story to the audience.  He didn’t explain how Henrietta Lacks or her families rights to privacy would have been protected. In the words of Skloot “This would have forever connected Henrietta and her family to the cells.”  Another way her privacy was invaded was due to the fact that Henrietta Lacks’ tissue cells were still alive and were taken, bought, and sold without her permission.

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 The family felt that there should have been no way for the scientist to be distributing their mother’s cells all over the world yet her family had no knowledge of this.  The absolute last straw was put on Henrietta as well as her family when Jones and other Hopkin colleagues wrote an article and revealed a picture about HeLa revealing her name and forever linking Lawrence, Sonny, Deborah, Zakariayya and future generations of Lackses to the HeLa cells.  Not only did it link the family to HeLa cells forever, but Henrietta’s name is now a matter of public record which no one ever gave them permission to release in the first place.Other examples of how the Lackses privacy as a whole was violated was when Gey purposely kept the family out and lied and said that Henrietta Lacks had donated the cells which the family hadn’t found out until years later.  In 1973, after years a family member (Bobbette) finally found out that Hopkins had part of Henrietta alive. Researchers everywhere were conducting research on her and the family had no idea.  Soon after doctors reached out to the Lack family to get samples of their blood to test if they had cancer but in actuality they were trying to find Henrietta’s HLA markers, but not saying it would help to stop the contamination problem and would help to create a map of Henrietta’s genes.  Deborah didn’t know why she was called back to Hopkins to give more blood, but the real reason was so another scientist could get a blood sample of his own (the risk was someone could uncover your genetic information which is a violation of privacy).

The last and most public examples of how their privacy was invaded was when Day realized that he nor any of the brothers sent a picture to the doctors so they weren’t sure how they had access to a photo of Henrietta and no one had permission to publish it.  They didn’t know anyone had done research on their DNA or published it.  When Gold extensively quoted from Henrietta’s medical records that they had never seen and never gave anyone at Hopkins permission to release them for publication.

 Cloning Henrietta’s cells was a violation of privacy because the family felt that there should be no way to try and re-create their mother especially if they didn’t even ask.The right to privacy is the basis of the American life.  Currently even if you are a child, parents are urged to give small children more space and independence.  As we age, more and more people want to justify needing privacy. Some of the reasons are they need peace and space or want to maintain boundaries.

 A survey from Pew Research Center shows that Americans feel privacy is important to their daily lives in a number of essential ways. While more people are being brought up in the lifestyle of having privacy, this is being contradicted through the promotion of social media.  Because of social media, it gives more people access to your personal information on a larger scale which makes it more likely for your privacy to be invaded.  Another study shows 93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important.Having a greater access to internet and various forms of technology is giving more ways for our privacy to be violated.  By producers advertising more “accommodating” uses of our information, it entices us to give it a try without thinking about all the risks that come with it.

 Ways that technology could further invade our privacy is by connecting cars with smart city infrastructure because many people feel it serves as a threat due to the fact that it isn’t necessary at all.  Connecting to healthcare to devices gives easier access to more personal information.  Lastly the spread use of smart tv’s requiring more and more personal information such as address, credit card information from apps, and wifi requirements is a very common way to unconsciously allow your information to be known with the simple  click of a button.

 Withthey have a greater chance of being hacked, never knowing if they will ever have true security, and how much money are we truly wasting just to put ourselves at risk.In a court case between a family, a school, a hospital and a young girl shows how we are trying to fight legislation to protect our rights to privacy.  Some background information about this case is it took place in Indiana and the case number is case No.

53C06-0511-P2-2132. A brief summary of the case is a girl’s parents seeked psychiatric help after they found evidence that their daughter had suicidal thoughts.  In retaliation to that they requested that hospital not send records in to their daughters school. The hospital therapist deliberately faxed the letter to the girls school (which many school employees viewed). In response to that the family sued the hospital.  This case is a prime example of how our privacy is being constantly invaded.

 The family specifically said they would like to keep this information away from the school in the early stages of the rehabilitation process.  Knowing exactly what they wanted, the hospital deliberately sends the information to the school which makes it seem as though they want to patronize the family.  This young girl was also taken advantage of just like Henrietta Lacks.

 For someone who is “looking out for the best interests of their patient” it seems like they don’t actually care out that process.  With that being said they family sued the company and the jury awarded them with $200,00 due to the mere fact that their privacy was undeniably invaded. In conclusion, there were numerous ways that scientists and researchers have taken advantage of Henrietta Lacks and her family by invading their right to privacy.  Although Henrietta’s story is one of the most known throughout the medical field, other patients have also experienced similar events.  Yes, we do understand that doctors need to research diseases and it would be helpful to use patients that they have already worked with.

 With that being said, you can still accomplish that and do the right thing at the same time.  The real question that should be asked is if doctors respected people’s space, do you feel like somehow they could have convinced patients carry out their needed procedures in a moral way?


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