Living Legend Ben Crump takes a break from the Southern University Law Center Inaugural Henrietta Lacks Symposium to discuss the civil case on behalf of the Lacks family to rectify the inhumane immoral criminal act committed in 1951. Henrietta Lacks cells were taken without her consent, known as HeLa, her cells became invaluable to medical research.
Count Time Podcast Living Legend Attorney Ben Crump
Selected quotes and notes from Count Time Podcast with LD Azobra Genetic Justice for Henrietta Lacks – Interview with Ben Crump – Women’s History Month
Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who lived in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1950s. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer and received treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. During her “inhumane” treatment, her cells were taken without her knowledge or consent for medical research purposes. These cells, known as the HeLa cell line, were the first immortalized human cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research. An immortalized cell line reproduces indefinitely, and were found to be unique in their ability to reproduce quickly and survive outside of the human body. The HeLa cells became instrumental in developing vaccines, cancer treatments, and other medical advancements. However, Henrietta and her family were unaware of the use of her cells for decades, and they did not receive any compensation or recognition for their contribution to medical research.
In recent years, there has been increased awareness of the ethical issues surrounding the use of Henrietta Lacks’ cells without her consent and the exploitation of her and her family’s story in medical research and publications. The Lacks family has called for greater transparency and respect for their family’s legacy and rights. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health reached an agreement with the Lacks family to give them some control over access to the HeLa cells’ DNA and to acknowledge the family’s contributions to medical research.
The story of Henrietta Lacks has raised important questions about the ethics of medical research and the need for greater respect for patients’ rights and autonomy. It has also highlighted the need for greater transparency and accountability in the use of human biological materials for research purposes.
About Ben Crump
Renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump founded Ben Crump Law PLLC with the abiding belief that justice equals respect. Because of this dedication to justice, the families of Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Martin Lee Anderson, and Breonna Taylor all turned to Mr. Crump to turn the spotlight of justice on these cases. But changing the landscape on civil rights is only half the story.
Mr. Crump and his firm’s attorneys are all devoted to advocating for the voiceless of our society whenever or whatever kind of harm may have befallen them. From personal injury, labor and employment matters, class actions, and other lawsuits, our attorneys are dedicated to holding the powerful accountable for their actions.