Tonight I attended Rebecca Skloot‘s interview about her book and experiences researching for her book. I found that there were several unique points brought up. The first interesting point brought up was at the beginning of the event when she was explaining how much she had learned and taken away from researching Henrietta Lacks and what her cells contributed to medical science. For example, Skloot explained that while writing this book, which is a best seller, she was learning what it meant to be a journalist through writing her story. Furthermore, I found that her description about the role faith played in her research process was very interesting. Skloot stated how she came from a non-religious background. As a result, she expained how she almost feared religion. However, the Lacks family were very religious and as a result Skloot was exposed to several religious elements for the first time through attending church and reading the Bible. With that said, I thought one of the most important statements she made was that the Lacks family made the connection between faith and science, which is something as a society we still have not been able to do.

Aside from these points, I also thought that Skloot’s narrative on bioethics was extremely fascinating. One of the key points she noted was that one of the reasons why bioethics has become more prevalent recently is due to the commercialization of science. As a result of this, she explained how people have developed a mistrust towards medical practitioners because there are so many questions surrounding the profession, such as what kinds of research are going on and where is the money going. In order to obtain more information on this topic, I found an article online entitled “The Stockholder – A Lesson for Business Ethics from Bioethics”. This article brought up several key points that pertain much of what Skloot said in reference to bioethics. Even more interestingly, it makes parallels between business ethics and bioethics. Thus, one of the key points that the article makes is that both big businesses and medical practitioners have come under intense scrutiny due to the fact that there is a conception that big businesses are only interested in maximizing profit and medical practices are only concerned about people living at all costs possible. However, the article argues that there are other values that must be accounted for in order for trust to be established in these two professional fields.


2 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    I thought her point about mistrust was mostly about the Black community’s mistrust. Do you think White Americans mistrust science and medicine?

    Did you hear the one question from a student asking if it was acceptable to use her tissue without consent since she got free care?

  2. ajc028 says:

    I too, went to see Rebecca Skloot’s talk about her book, and came to a similar conclusion, especially regarding the commercialization of both business and medicine. I think that often times there is a class between either Wall Street and/or the medical world and the general population because it cannot be explained in simple terms, and people do not understand what is going on, and what they are a part of. As a society, we cannot expect everyone to be fully versed in every area of study, yet people do require a basic understanding of what is going on in order to make informed decisions. I know for my family, in particular, the minute my brother entered medical school, every member of our extended family used him as a resource to get a better understanding of their medical care, and to have someone sit and go through all of their options with them. In that sense, we are lucky, because we can use my brother as a resource, but so many other families do not have a doctor as a relative, so it is a shame that that attitude is not being expressed more within the hospitals themselves.

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