The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

965 Words4 Pages

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a novel written by Rebecca Skloot meant to be a memoir of one of the biggest breakthroughs in medical history and the woman that influenced it. Instead of immortalizing her cells like every other publishing company under the quasi-ambiguous name, HeLa, Skloot decided to give the medical miracle a name and tell her story. From life, death, and hereafter, Skloot has told the story of a woman that would have gone forgotten in history, along with the ethical mishaps along the way. The story begins with Skloot telling Henrietta’s life story and her sickness. As it turns out, the cells that have been deemed immortal came from an agent of death. Henrietta grew up as a poor tobacco farmer, but that never kept her from spreading her joy and happiness throughout her hometown, Clover. She would marry David “Day” …show more content…

However, Henrietta discovers a “knot” in her vaginal area and makes an appointment to Johns Hopkins, and is diagnosed with cervical cancer. However, this lump is different. Jones, a seasoned gynecologist, had never seen cervical cancer lesions quite like Henrietta’s. The lump is “like grape Jello… [and] bled at the lightest touch” (17) It later is revealed that the cancer comes from the human papillomavirus (HPV). Henrietta then gets treated for her cancer, and is treated like any other woman with cervical cancer at the time with a form of primitive cancer treatment. In surgery, the doctor would put a tube full of radium in and around Henrietta’s cervix and vagina and let it sit there for some time, and took some samples from her vagina and tumor. While results were promising for some time, Henrietta’s tumor came back with a vengeance. The tumors blocked her urethra and “nearly replaced her kidney’s bladder, ovaries, and uterus” (90). Her pain was so great that even strong pain killers like morphine and pure alcohol injected

Open Document