The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

1102 Words5 Pages

Many times throughout history, morality and ethics have been compromised. People have always questioned the “unwritten laws” of what is deemed ethically correct and what isn’t. In the medical world, there was a discovery that allowed for many new accomplishments and unlocked the potential of modern-day medicine. In the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the author, Rebecca Skloot, explores the life of a very important woman in modern science. Her immortal cells revolutionized the medical field and led to the growth of a multimillion-dollar industry. However, she along with her entire family had absolutely no knowledge of the use of her cells. This sparks the ethical controversy that surrounds the medical field, when and how should human …show more content…

And her name was Henrietta Lacks. She was born on August 1, 1920 in Roanoke, Virginia and was originally named Loretta Pleasant. No one is quite sure of how her name became Henrietta Lacks. The only clue that was found was her mother’s middle name, which was Lacks. Her mother’s name was Eliza Lacks Pleasant and she died giving birth to Henrietta’s ninth sibling in 1924. When her mother died, Henrietta’s father, Johnny Pleasant, decided to move back to Clover, Virginia and split his ten children between the relatives that lived there. Henrietta and her cousin, David “Day” Lacks, were raised by her grandfather, Tommy Lacks. Henrietta was 4 and David was around 9 years old. Henrietta eventually married David on April 10, 1941. At that point, the couple had 2 children; Lawrence Lacks and Elsie Lacks. As she continued her life, Henrietta noticed something wrong. Henrietta believed she had a knot inside her womb. She was afraid to go to the doctors, because it was widely believed that if a woman had a problem like that, the doctors would make it impossible for the woman to have children again. However, around 1942, the family moved to Baltimore, where Henrietta finally visited the doctors about her abdominal pain. In the book, Henrietta described it as a “knot…[at the] neck of her womb” (pg 17). The gynecologist diagnosed her with “Epidermoid Carcinoma of the cervix, …show more content…

Before the surgeon treated her tumour, he took two samples, one of her tumour and another from her healthy cervical tissue. He then gave the tissues to Dr. George Gey, who was experimenting using patient's cells. He invented the roller tubes, which rotated the cells, allowing the culture medium to flow around making it seem more like the body’s constant motions. When the “HeLa” cancer cells were grown, Gey quickly realized that he had grown the first ever immortal cells. When he had told his colleagues about this, they asked if they could have some of these cells and Gey complied . All this was happening outside the knowledge of Henrietta and her family. Henrietta later died because her cancer had worsened. She passed away on October 4,

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