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Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Created: 07/15/11

Replies: 19

Posted Jul. 15, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Deborah says, "But I always have thought it was strange, if our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can't afford to see no doctors? Don't make no sense" (page 9). Should the family be financially compensated for the HeLa cells? If so, who do you believe that money should come from? Do you feel the Lackses deserve health insurance even though they can't afford it? How would you respond if you were in their situation?


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marthad

Join Date: 05/10/11

Posts: 25

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Well, I believe everyone deserve health insurance but in this case I think it's the least they should have coming to them.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianel

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 15

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

I hope with the success of this book that Henrietta Lacks will finally get the recognition that she is due. By that I mean that the biomedical community will ensure that: 1) Henrietta gets a proper headstone 2) a scholarship fund is established for the descendants of Henrietta to be used for higher education 3) Johns Hopkins (out of the goodness of their heart) would provide medical care for Henrietta's children at their hospital 4) commercial biotech firms (you hear me?) would establish annual Henrietta Lacks scholarships for the study of biology/pathology.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jop

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 14

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Short answer: Yes.
A percentage of all profits should go to them, and this financial model should apply to all "donors" of lucrative biomedical discoveries. I do not agree with the ruling that once tissues are removed, they no longer belong to the donor. As for the scholarship fund, I thought that the author, Rebecca Skloot, established this fund for the family. Also some money should go to the deaf--the undiagnosed deafness that plagued the Lacks family hurt them all.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Dottie S

Join Date: 07/17/11

Posts: 6

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Definitely! I believe that once I willingly, with complete understanding, donate my tissue samples, they no longer belong to me, just as if I donated money for research or art to a museum. In this case I am not entitled to any compensation for any financial benefits from the donations. But this was not the case here. There was no understanding of what was involved. Privacy had been violated. Consent, if actually given, was not valid. There was a serious lack of communication between the medical team and the patient and her family. The family must be compensated, by John Hopkins for the deception and unsavory manner the samples were obtained, , and particularly by the biotech firms that profited financially.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
anneb

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 7

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

I agree with everyone. Yes, if I sign away my cells and something good comes from it, awesome, but in this case, there is absolute right to compensation for the use of the tissues, plus the deception behind it needs to be rectified. And yes, most certainly, everyone needs health insurance. All though, if the price of health wasn't so high, perhaps we wouldn't need to argue about that issue. (Not us, the government...)


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanj

Join Date: 06/18/11

Posts: 17

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Yes, I do believe that Hopkins should provide coverage for the family. I don't see any way they can be compensated for the use of the cells, but it's only right that the family be provided for medically. I agree that health care needs to be available to everyone.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
chetyarbrough.com

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 14

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Free Health insurance for the Lacks family seems a small price to pay for an industry that has been created from the bad luck of Henrietta Lacks. It is like Henrietta Lacks had the winning lottery ticket and then died. Shouln't the Lacks family inherit something?


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Daveann

Join Date: 07/17/11

Posts: 6

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Yes, that is defintely the least that the Lacks family should be granted. Whay cant this happen for them?


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
nancyo

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 8

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Should the family be financially compensated for the HeLa cells?

Tough question. On an emotional level I'd say yes. But realistically, where would the money come from? There are so many organizations and individuals all around the world that have profited from the HeLa cells -- where would the Lacks family even begin to start collecting? From Johns Hopkins? What should the family do -- contact every business that dealt with the HeLa cells or any person whose illnesses have been cured or prevented and demand compensation? And what would be fair compensation? And to do this, they'll have to pay legal fees that they can't afford. I think it's tough to give a simple yes or no to this question.

Now that the story is out and very public, it might be a good call for Johns Hopkins to offer to provide free medical care for the family in perpetuity.

As far as health insurance, I think every person in this country should have health insurance and access to quality health care.


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
melissaw

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 2

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

I agree with MarthaD. Everyone deserves health insurance, but that's another debate altogether.... The Lacks family deserves it especially considering all that Henriettta has done for the medical community without her even realizing it. I'm hoping that, with the story having been made public, the family gets compensation in one form or another.


Posted Jul. 21, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shellyb

Join Date: 07/04/11

Posts: 11

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Yes, I think they should. I also agree they should get a portion of the profits for Henrietta's family.


Posted Jul. 21, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 68

Expert

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

As some here have stated, this is a thorny topic. While I'm uncertain re payment to the family, I do agree with many who have suggested that Johns Hopkins should provide free medical care for her surviving children and grandchildren.


Posted Jul. 21, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
glenda

Join Date: 07/21/11

Posts: 1

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Definitely, yes! I thank the author for being intrigued about HeLa cells,andr esearching and following up on what has happened through the years. She has done a great job bringing the HeLa cells story to the public, I would never known this or had a way of discovering what happened to her cells. Henrietta's family deserves some type of compensation. Perhaps now that the facts are known they can be helped in some way, health insurance would certainly be deserved and needed.
Glenda


Posted Jul. 25, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
karlas

Join Date: 10/21/10

Posts: 5

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

No. I can understand the frustraton of the members of the Lacks family. Because they were not dealt with honestly by the medical team at Johns Hopkins and other researchers I can see why the feel that they should, at least, be given health insurance.


Posted Jul. 25, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marcias

Join Date: 07/25/11

Posts: 5

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Everyone deserves health insurance but I don't see compensation.


Posted Jul. 28, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 88

Expert

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

I don't think they should be compensated. I don't like what happened and don't think it was right in the way it happened, but there was no law preventing it. I think compensation would open a big can of worms both legally (many others are probably in this same situation) and black market wise. Everyone deserves health insurance.


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kristinann1

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 3

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

Hear! Hear! dianel. It is a disgrace that Henrietta and her family suffered so much from what happened.


bookwalk1
Posted Aug. 12, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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kageeh

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 6

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

No, I do not believe anyone should be compensated for the medical/scientific use of their tissues because to do so would so would be so prohibitively expensive and and complex to carry out efficiently and fairly. There are just some things that should be done simply for the greater good of mankind. However, in light of what's currently happening with our corporate-run government and society, I would amend my opinion if a for-profit company made billions and billions of dollars selling the samples. There should be no profit attached to the use of tissue samples other than what is necessary to cover whatever costs are involved.

As to whether the Lacks deserve health insurance, how could any sane human answer that in the negative? EVERYONE deserves adequate health insurance and it's criminally indefensible that the US is the only industrialized country that does not provide it. There may be problems with access to some medical care in those countries that have universal coverage but those are problems that can be ameliorated at much less cost to society than the situation that exists in the US where people without insurance die for lack of affordable medical care. This country needs to abolish all the private insurance companies that have existed solely to increase medical costs beyond affordability, make it impossible for so many physicians to stay in practice, and to deny treatments to people who need them. Stop the government from paying for outrageous wars and use the money for single-payer healthcare for everyone!


Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film.
Posted Aug. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
janetp

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 3

RE: Should the Lacks family be compensated for the HeLa cells? Do they deserve health insurance? 

I don't believe that the Lacks family should be compensated for the cells, although there is a huge emotional pull to think this way after reading the book. It would be complicated to decide who is responsible and, legally, there is no way to prove that something was done incorrectly.
The moral issue is something else entirely. I think the family should be compensated by Johns Hopkins with free medical care for the rest of their lives. However, the problem is bigger than this. Adequate health care should be available to all United States citizens. Most hospitals now find themselves taking people without insurance and caring for them (at the last minute) when costs are much higher than they would be if these people got care at an earlier phase of their disease or injury. But, back to the book, something special should be done for the Lacks family regarding medical care, and it should be done by Johns Hopkins.


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