Henrietta Lacks Sparknotes

729 Words3 Pages

The book of Henrietta Lacks is an eye-opening story. It opened my eyes to all the injustices and moral issues of the medical field back in the early 1900s, but it also showed me how fast the field advanced with Henrietta’s cells. The book was very interesting and went over various issues involving Henrietta and her family. The book tells about Henrietta Lacks who was a black woman born in Roanoke, Virginia on August 1, 1920. Henrietta had a terrible case of cervical cancer which ultimately led to her death in 1951. Before she passed away, doctors took some of her cells to culture and see if they could get them to grow. The cells were given to Dr. George Gey. He had one of his assistants, Mary Kubicek take the cells and prepare them and put …show more content…

First of all, Henrietta was an African American woman at the time when there was still inequality and segregation towards African Americans. This was really evident when she went in for her checkups at Hopkins and how she was never asked for her consent with her cell tissue. Also, the medical treatments at that time were not very safe or effective. An example would be when they used radium to try and treat her cervical cancer. Little did they know that radium destroys any cells it touches and it can also cause cancer. Along with that, the medical field had very few rules and was still unsanitary which was part of the problem with culturing cells until HeLa. There was also a lot of human experimentation at the time. In addition, there were multiple legal issues that revolved around this story like asking Henrietta for her consent when taking a sample of her cervical tissue for cell culture. They also never told her about the side effect of her cancer treatment about not having kids. Along with this, they started injecting HeLa cells inside of inmates without telling them what it was to see if they would develop cancer. To add to this there was a lot of controversy pertaining to human experimentation, and politicians had been repeated trying to pass bills and federal laws to regulate human experimentation. The bills though were repeatedly voted down in the U.S. That was part of the problem to why all

Open Document