Dilemma Of Informed Consent

1592 Words7 Pages
Currently, there are nearly as many human biological samples stored in the United States as there are people in the United States, and many of the sources of the samples remain unknown because informed consent was not previously required. The main dilemma between informed consent and scientists lies within the ethics and practicality of research on tissue removed from a patient’s body for surgical purposes. Meanwhile, the tissues are studied in labs across the country. In recent years, the HeLa cell line and the cells backstory have precipitated outrage towards how the tissue was obtained, managed, and the inadequacy of informed consent from Henrietta Lacks and her family. Since then, other cases have become public regarding the lack…show more content…
The medical definition of informed consent is “The process by which a patient learns about and understands the purpose, benefits, and potential risks of a medical or surgical intervention, including clinical trials, and agrees to receive the treatment or participate in the trial. Informed consent generally requires the patient or responsible party to sign a statement confirming that they understand the risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment” (Medical Definition of Informed consent). The definition goes over medical and surgical procedures when the tissue is still part of the patient; however, tissue removed from the patient during an operation, is not mentioned. Consequently, a gray area emerges and scientists scramble to decipher between what is ethical and what is practical. The ethical side corresponds to the patient's right to their body, including his or her tissue. Although, again, there are not any laws protecting a human’s right to their tissues removed from the body. The practical side relates to the cost of future research and patient confidentially in terms of linking unidentified tissue samples to the original patient. The practicality of voiding using consent forms, in terms of tissue, eliminates the confusion within the scientific community, reduces additional cost burdens and decreases potential privacy breaches to the original patient. Scientists, including David Korn,
Open Document