Henrietta Lacks: An Analysis

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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. Day agrees to allow for an autopsy to be performed on Henrietta and on page 90 Skloot describes what Mary told her years later. After seeing Henrietta’s painted red toenails Mary thought to herself, “Oh jeez, she’s a real person.” This simple sentence has a massive story to it and reflects what many readers are bothered with while reading this book. It is difficult to learn about what this woman…show more content…
Millions of people have these cells to thank for their health and researchers owe their life’s work to them. Yet, the Lacks family cannot even afford to go to the doctor and are completely unaware of everything their mother’s cells have done for the wellbeing of people all around the world. Gey would not even publish or release her real name. In chapter 22, the reader sees the family’s reaction to being kept in the dark about these cell, Bobbette says, “Everybody always saying Henrietta Lacks donated those cells. She didn’t donate nothing. They took them and didn’t ask.” This quote ties together much of the story behind the ethical issues surrounding these cells and the importance of informed consent, a privilege we now take for granted
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