The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

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Abstraction throughout history “We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measures of triumph.” The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks explores the meaning of being an abstraction or a general idea. The scientists and media that did not know the name Henrietta Lacks but knew the name of the cell line HeLa showed the disregard Scientists had for the Lacks family. In 1951, poor African American women named Henrietta lacks discovered what she thought was a “knot in her stomach” that turned out to be cervical cancer. Doctors thought they could take a few cells from Henrietta without her consent or …show more content…

Researchers believed that the person behind the cell line HeLa, was Helen Lane. After the death of George Gey, it was later discovered that the real name behind the cells was in fact Henrietta Lacks. As the discovery of the name Henrietta Lacks, researchers by the name of Susan Hsu and Victor McKsick began contacting the Lacks family under the misconception of they wanted to test them to be sure they did not have the cancer their mother had. Throughout the further research of Deborah, Henrietta’s daughter, they began requesting more blood for extended research that she was unaware of. They wanted more blood for a researcher in California who requisitioned samples of blood for his research on HeLa. Without the consent of the Lacks family, Mcksick started using their blood for what would begin a new era of genetics research. In Today’s society this would be a major violation of ethics and be considered immoral but at the time of the research it was just considered a violation of privacy. Situations as the misguided and uninformed family is why Skloot believed that many scientists and the media saw the Lacks family as abstractions rather than a family who wanted to have an idea of what was going …show more content…

The media had to produce all the latest information about the HeLa research. Media published the medical records without the family’s knowledge nor consent. Today publishing medical records is illegal but when the media published Henrietta’s medical record it was just considered a violation of privacy nothing more. Again, the media forgot about the sensitivity of this information and how releasing the medical record could severely affect the Lacks family but that did not matter to the media since they were just a general idea or an

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