The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a book written by Rebecca Skloot. Chapter 1 begins shortly after Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, and her son, Joe, were born. After those two were born, she then began to experience vaginal bleeding at the wrong time of the month. Feeling like something was wrong, Henrietta rushed to the doctor. She only went to see the doctor “If she felt she had no other choice”.
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
Racism in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Imagine your mother, sister, wife, or cousin was diagnosed with cervical cancer and you believed the doctors were doing everything in their power to help her. Only later you discovered her cells were used for research without consent and she was not properly informed of the risks of her treatment due to her race. This story happened and is told by Rebecca Skloot in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Skloot use of narrative and her writing style enhances the understanding of the story. Henrietta Lacks was a young black woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at John Hopkins Hospital.
Bushra Pirzada Professor Swann Engh-302 October 4th 2015 Rhetorical Analysis: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks written by Rebecca Skloot tells the story of a woman named Henrietta Lacks who has her cervical cancer. It further goes to tell the audience how Henrietta altered medicine unknowingly. Henrietta Lacks was initially diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951; however, the doctors at John Hopkins took sample tissues from her cervix without her permission. The sample tissues taken from Henrietta’s cervix were used to conduct scientific research as well as to develop vaccines in the suture.
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.
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
Reflection 1 The Secret Life of Henrietta really reflects more than just advancement in the medical society, but also by how societal expectations and norms have changed over a period of time. Henrietta’s cells were taken without her permission’’’ and this wasn’t an uncommon practice during that time. The reason this wasn’t an uncommon practice can be contributed to factors such as race, class, gender, and the actual view of medicinal research at the time.
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.
The injustice of taking Henrietta’s cells and using them for research without her consent or of her family for that matter; until 20 years later is incomprehensible. Many believe that the history of medical ethics such as the Hippocratic Oath and complying the federal law in protecting human research and confidentiality wasn’t yet recognized. All the same, the Lacks’ family isn’t given credit or acknowledgement for what Henrietta, has contributed to science, known as the HeLa cell line. Henrietta’s
This part of the novel begin with the family discovering that their mother’s cells were being used in laboratories everywhere in the world. Her cells were used to help develop drugs for treating, herpes, polio, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia and Parkinson’s disease. Also, they were used to study lactose digestion, sexually transmitted diseases, appendicitis, human longevity, and mosquito mating (Skloot, 4). Part three also covers the amount of profits that were made from HeLa and how much the Lacks family struggled with numerous amounts of medical conditions and other adversities that could have all been alleviated with their share of the HeLa cell line profit. The chapters also cover a few legal cases and once important case (Moore vs. Regents of the University of California) that cause the Supreme Court to conclude that human tissues after being left in the doctor's office, no longer belonged to the patients, rather is in the ownership of doctor or the hospital.
During my University 111 class, I was given the opportunity to read the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This read was connected to the most important medical breakthrough of the 20th century that changed the face of scientific research. This was the discovery of the numerous uses of cancerous cervical cells from a colored woman named Henrietta Lacks, to science she was HeLa. Her cells aided in the understanding of the development of AIDS/HIV treatment, the development of the polio vaccine, understanding the nutritional needs of cells, and stronger requirements of patient consent laws. To better understand the reading, the class was assigned a project that would allow us to make societal connections.
This essay uses the book“ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot to investigate the requirements of informed consent ,by informing the patients through every steps Henrietta’s story is an example on informed consent. On one hand theorists such as, Dale Keigner argue that informed consent should be notified by the doctor to the patient and the patient should be knowledge on the proceeding that the doctors will maintain. On the other hand , Lewis Soloman contends that the doctors should be able to take any specimens from the patient after operating without consent for scientific reasons and research. . He also asserted that doctors should be able to deduct any specimen that will be able to help in the science research. Others maintain
Another moral and ethical issue brought on by the doctors of John Hopkins was when they retrieved tissue from Henrietta’s cervix without consent. Tissue that was later cultured and became the miraculous HeLa cells. Neither Henrietta nor her family gave their written or verbal consent for her cells to be used in Dr. Gey’s research. Later in the book, Skloot introduces her readers to a similar case of a man named John Moore. Moore also had tissue stolen from his body without consent that was later developed into a successful cell line.