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Ethical Responsibilities in Medicine with Dr Adrian Walsh

In 1951 a woman named Henrietta Lacks had cancerous cells taken from her tumour without her permission or knowledge.

These cells, called HeLa cells, have since been used for a significant amount of medicinal breakthroughs. However, the lack of consent in this case, and the fact that her family was never compensated, raises questions about our responsibility to behave in an ethical and moral manner.

The Lacks family settled their case against Thermo Fisher Scientific at the start of August. Ash sat down with Dr Adrian Walsh, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England, to look at this case study through the lens of applied ethics, to better understand our ethical responsbilities.

“We need to remain vigilant so the vulnerable are not poorly treated or exploited.”

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