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Informed Consent Essay

2275 words - 10 pages

Think of a time when someone was fraudulent towards you, when someone was deceitful with their intentions and did not care about your needs, your feelings or your well-being. All they cared about was them getting ahead in life and using you to get there. Well once upon a time in 1951 this happened to a very important woman in medical history. Her name was Henrietta Lacks. Her cells were taken from her and sold for medical research without her or any of her family members knowing anything about it. This caused a great deal of trouble for her loved ones because even after she passed her cells were still alive and they still are to this day. In the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ...view middle of the document...

In the 1940’s in Tuskegee Alabama researchers did a study on the natural history of untreated syphilis. By doing so they did not inform black males that they had syphilis and denied them treatment even after treatment was founded in 1947. During WWII Nazi’s in Germany was conducting research on prisoners in concentration camps at which many died from the result of the experiments. In 1962 Thalidomide which is a sleeping pill was given to women and was found to have caused birth defects. This resulted in The Kefauver-Harris Bill being passed to ensure greater drug safety in the U.S. If you think it stops there it doesn’t. Researchers even gave psychotic patients at the Illinois State Hospital malaria to test the cure. That couldn’t have been legal. However, the informed consent laws were not enforced which meant researchers were going about things in their own way without any consequences.
Fortunately, after the WWII war many of the doctors who performed these experiments on innocent patients were tried at the Nuremberg Trials which established the Nuremberg Code in 1948. The Nuremberg Code is an international document that stated voluntary consent was mandatory. Voluntary consent meant participants were able to consent to the study; they were not being coerced to do the study and understood the risks and benefits involved. Even though this code was established somehow studies were still being made without consent of the patient. An example first hand would be Henrietta Lacks case. Another example would be when the NIH (National Institutes of Health) was created. The U.S. created this because so many advances in medicine were made during WWII from research being done on patients without their consent. The U.S. funded 2,000 research projects at which no one used informed consent. Get this, in 1979 The Belmont Report was established. This had in it, ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research. But somehow once again, researchers went on in 1999 without informed consent being used when and 18-year-old participant died. He was involved in a study at the University of Pennsylvania. An investigator of his death found that the participant and his father were not informed of every detail about the procedure or the risks involved. After this incident, The Department of Health and Human Services worked to make sure people were properly informed by fining research projects up to one million dollars for informed consent violations. Around the time that The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was being published which was 2009-2010 there was not even a case law that clarified whether you own or have the right to control your tissues and today in 2014 there still is not any law out there stating anything about humans having rights to their tissues.
Overtime informed consent has changed for the better. Now, if an individual is interested in partaking in a medical research trial they are given a document that contains...

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