On January 29, 1951, an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with Stage 1, Epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix, after her visit to John Hopkins Hospital. Henrietta began radium treatments which was proven to kill cancer cells and a safer option than surgery, according to her physician Howard Jones. Jones increased Henrietta’s dose of radiation in hopes to decrease the size of the tumors however the treatments were proven ineffective and her skin was burned blacker while the pain grew unbearable until she passed away on October 4, 1951. She left behind her husband David “Day” and five children: Lawrence, Elsie, David Jr, Deborah, and Zakariyya (Joe). This paper will focus on how Henrietta Lack’s and her family’s experience
Removing Henrietta’s cells without her consent seems to be a very rare scenario and this can tell how the medical community mistreats the Black Americans. A woman of black America origin, Rebecca Skloot managed to surface other different stories of maltreatment directed to the African American community. Blacks in America were taken as people with unequal rights even in a situation like this that talked about right to life. She explained horrific experiences on experimentation of African Americans, stories that were enhanced by fear seen in Henrietta’s relatives refusing to visit hospitals even for necessary treatment. In this regard, the paper will give a response to the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks.
After reading this case I was terribly shocked about the fact that something like this could happen in our medical history. I couldn’t believe how a patient could be neglected so much. Based on the material that we have learned the lack of ethical theory of deontology in Dr. Evan was disturbing. As a doctor Dr. Evan’s role is to care for patients, keep them away from harm and prolong their life. Though in the trial he stated as if he didn’t care.
Her doctor collected cancerous cells and healthy cells from her cervix and gave them to the cancer researcher, George Otto Gey, who was trying to keep cells alive for more than a couple days. Henrietta endured intense radium treatments, but she still died at the age of 31, leaving her husband and five children behind. An amazing discovery was made Henrietta’s cell were immortal. Racism is prevalent in this book through the limited availability of healthcare, unethical behaviors of the doctors, and how racism affected her family. During this time, there was an extensive lack of medical care for colored people.
Doctors, one side of the coin they are viewed as the ones that can cure the sick with their knowledge, the ones that are supposed to help them get better. The other side they are feared and are avoided at all cost by some. Doctors have this bad reputation about them because sometimes they don’t even tell their patients what is wrong with them. Or the patients themselves don’t even question the doctors because they went to school and have a prestigious piece of paper. In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, she describes benevolent deception, which doctors had no trouble of doing in the mid-century, as the doctors keeping their patients in the dark.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of Henrietta, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks, aided by journalist Rebecca Skloot. Deborah wanted to learn about her mother, and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever. It is a story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty and deep friendship between the unlikeliest people. There had been many books published about Henrietta’s cells, but nothing about Henrietta’s personality, experiences, feeling, life style etc.
Henrietta Lacks was a black tobacco farmer from the south who, in 1950, at the age of 30, she was diagnosed with aggressive cervical cancer. Lacks went to John’s Hopkins medical center for treatment for her cancer. In April of 1951, she underwent surgery to remove the larger tumor on her cervix. Henrietta Lacks, died three days following the surgery. Even though Henrietta Lacks died, her cells from the tumor have lived on and have made a major impact on the biomedical community.
Part two of, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, once again submerges the reader in to the world of HeLa cells. This section emphasizes what occurred with Henrietta’s immortal cells after her death. Along with the many medical discoveries made from these miracle cells, part two delves into the physical and emotional abuse that Henrietta’s children were forced to live with after her passing all while struggling financially while their mother’s cells are being sold for millions of dollars. Skloot continues her phenomenal synopsis of the life of Henrietta Lacks and the stories her cells continue to tell. One of the utmost riveting and critical scenes of this section occurs in the first few pages.
In the case of Henrietta Lacks and her family, the mistreatment of doctors and lack of informed consent defined nearly 60 years of the family’s history. Henrietta Lacks and her children had little to no information about serious medical procedures and the use of Henrietta’s cells in research. Henrietta’s cells launched a multibillion-dollar industry without her consent and doctors even took advantage of her children’s lack of education to continue their research without questions: “[Doctor] did not explain why he was having someone draw blood from Deborah… he wrote a phone number and told her to use it for making more appointments to give more blood” (188). Deborah did not have the knowledge to understand the demands or requests the doctors made of her, and the doctors did not inform her explicitly.
Deborah states, "Truth be told, I can 't get mad at science because it help people live, and I 'd be a mess without it. I 'm a walking drugstore! I can 't say nuthin bad about science, but I won 't lie, I would like some health insurance so I don 't got to pay all that money every month for drugs my mother cells probably helped make". This explains how Deborah has to spend all her money on not even all her medication because she can 't even afford health insurance that will cover her medicine. African Americans who were
Multiple times throughout the book it was mentioned that Henrietta’s biopsy took place 60 years ago and a lot of changes have been made to science and ethics. This book did a good job bringing up ethics in science and scientific achievements that have been made over the years, but in some ways it was sensationalized to get the family the recognition they feel they deserved. As a poor, black family, the Lacks’ were discriminated against. Even the medical treatments they received were often not the best treatments offered and they were often experimented on. Having the fear of being mistreated and used for experimentation made the Lacks’ even more upset about Henrietta’s death.
Henrietta Lacks was a thirty-one year old African American who had five kids and married her cousin David Lacks. Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the doctors never informed Mrs. Lacks that her cells were to be tested on. The Lacks family was certainly not advised that Henrietta 's cells were growing at an incredible rate. Because of this, the cancer cells were shipped and bought across the world. The last 8 months of Henrietta’s death became a piece of history nobody would ever want to forget.
Despite the wrongdoings Henrietta Lacks was put through her cells did a lot to help advance science. Her cells helped develop different types of vaccines, which such as her daughter faced. A lot of good and bad came out of Henrietta’s
The media and scientific community are guilty of viewing Henrietta Lacks and her family as abstractions. Nonetheless, the central argument of the book is that the scientific community has an ethical obligation to respect the dignity, autonomy, and person-hood of all subjects and individuals with whom it comes into contact. Accordingly, individuals cannot be made into subjects of scientific inquiry without their consent. And, when objects of scientific study (including, for example, the physical material scientists use within a laboratory setting) are sourced from individual people, those individuals deserve to be made aware of such sourcing, and when possible they ought to be appropriately compensated. Therefore, you can see how the scientific
The story, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, explores the true story of a woman named Deborah and her journey to discover more information about her mother and what her cells did for humanity. Deborah’s mother, Henrietta, died of cancer and her cells, which were attained by inhumane means, contributed greatly to the scientific study of curing other diseases. Although, Henrietta’s death also had a great impact on Deborah due to the fact that Deborah had to face certain difficult situations. With her passing, Deborah was forced to live with a cousin of her mother, who abused her and had a husband who also verbally and sexually mistreated her. The abuse is prominently shown when Galen, the husband, screams at Henrietta, “Get back here till I finish with you, Dale!