An Analysis of 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'

1454 Words Jan 30th, 2018 6 Pages
One of these is the right to human dignity, which everyone should have. Yet, there are occasions where humans have been robbed of their rights as human beings just because they have had the misfortune to die. The concept of an inalienable right is the basis for the American constitution and should include rights to the body as well as the spirit. The case of Henrietta Lacks was a milestone for medical research and has potentially led to curatives for many illnesses both in the United States and around the world. However, the woman behind this research was never aware of her remarkable body, nor was her family members allowed to reap any of the benefits of their lost relation. Henrietta Lacks went to the doctor because she was ill. She was found to have terminal cancer and eventually died from her illness. During her treatment, cells from her body were taken. They were found to be mutagenic, or different because of a mutation from normal human cells. The story of Henrietta Lacks is one where human beings have to question where the line draws on their rights. In this case, researchers did not have consent to take her cells nor did they protect her dignity by providing her with doctor-patient confidentiality. In Rebecca Skloot's non-fiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the author writes about the woman of the title whose cells were…

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