“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a story of a woman named Henrietta Lacks, but many people refer to her as HeLa. Henrietta was the wife of David Lacks and a mother to her children. Henrietta noticed a knot on her cervix one day and became concerned. After a while Henrietta decided to seek medical attention. Henrietta got examined at John Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, which was when Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. Henrietta underwent many painful x-ray therapy and radium treatments to get rid of the cancer, during these treatments some tissue from Henrietta’s tumor was removed without informing her or her family. The tissue was taken to George Grey, who was John Hopkins head in the Tissue Culture
Henrietta Lacks was a poor African American that became one of the most vital tools in developing medicines like polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and much more. She was a loving mother of five, wife, sister, and friend to many that was taken on October 4, 1951 at the age of thirty-one to cervical cancer. Henrietta’s cells were taken without her knowledge to develop the first ever immortal line of cells.
These are issues because the cells of Henrietta lack were used to create “immortal” cells that provided a steady supply of cells for medical research and allowed to find cure for multiple diseases, and guaranteed the medical industry millions of dollar when her family his struggling to pay for healthcare. Moreover, researchers at Johns
Henrietta Lacks died never knowing the impact her life would have on the world of medicine. A poor, black woman living in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1950s, Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer and died only nine short months after her diagnosis at the age of thirty-one. The mother of five children, Henrietta most likely died thinking her family would be her legacy. Little did she know her doctor at John Hopkins hospital, George Gey, had taken some of her cells before she died. With Henrietta’s cells, Dr. Gey was finally able to achieve a goal he had been working toward for decades – creating the first line of immortal cells (Freeman). These cells have been used for countless scientific research and have solidified Henrietta Lacks’ place
The non-fiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot, details the happenings and life of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman and tobacco farmer who became a medical miracle in the 1950’s. The book is written in an attempt to chronicle both the experiences and tribulations of Henrietta Lacks and her family, as well as the events that led to, and resulted from, research done on Henrietta Lacks’ cells. Henrietta was a very average African American woman in this period; she had only a seventh-grade level education, and followed traditional racial and gender roles by spending her time has a mother and caretaker, as well as working on farms throughout her life until the involvement of the US in World War II brought her and her husband, “Day” Lacks, comparatively better work opportunities in industrial steel mills. However, after her death in 1951 Henrietta became much more than average to doctors at John Hopkins when the discovered that cells extracted from her cancerous tissue continued to live and grow much longer than any other tissue samples. Further investigation and isolation of these thriving cells led to the creation of the first ever immortal human cell line in medical history. The incredible progress in medicine made possible by Henrietta Lack’s tissue cells were not without downfalls, though. The treatments and experiences received by Henrietta and the effects it had on her and her family demonstrate both racial and gender
This book kept me drawing conclusions and I could think of the good and bad too most of it. “But Henrietta’s cells weren’t early surveying, they were growing with mythological intensity…Soon, George told a few of his closest colleagues that he thought his ab might have grown the first immortal human cells. To which they replied, Can I have some? And George said yes” (40.5). Skloot gives an insight to the secret ‘deal’ between the doctors to emphasize her point, once again, that taking cells were okay at the time without consent from the patient. The audience sees and irony here as they read about Gey’s answer to his colleagues question, can I have some, as a yes. Even though Gey doesn’t own the cells, he is giving other people Henrietta’s cells as if it is his. Henrietta, herself, is not asked the question, before Gey took away her cells without asking her. “Not lont after Henrietta’s death, planning began for a HeLa factory- a massive operation that would grow to produce trillions of HeLa cells each week. It was built for one reason: to help stop polio”(93.1). This setting shows the inhumanity that had went on in the 1900’s. Henrietta’s death was considered to be nothing at all. Henrietta’s cells were the only ones that were welcomed and meaningful, who and where that they came from didn’t matter, HeLa cells were widely spread and praised for its immortality, but Henrietta was not. She probably lived through
Throughout years and years of developing our rights in law and off law we have created a system that gives everyone equality. Human rights can be explained in multiple ways. Rights could start from personal rights to rights as a citizen. Without rights our lives would be demanding and complicated. In the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot the author explains many violations of human rights as a citizen leading to social economic abuse.
Henrietta Lacks died in 1951 of cervical cancer, leaving behind a husband, five children and some cells taken from her without her permission. These cells continue to revolutionize the scientific field today and have played an integral role in some of the most important advances in medicine: cloning, chemotherapy, gene mapping, the polio vaccine and in vitro fertilization. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks answers a lot of questions regarding the Lacks family, but also poses a number of questions regarding ethics, consent and how far society is willing to go to make medical advances.
Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cells have made millions of dollars, but most people don’t know her name, or her story. “She’s usually identified as Helen Lane, but often she has no name at all. She’s simply called HeLa, the code name given to the world’s first immortal human cells – her cells cut from her cervix just months before she died. Her real name is Henrietta Lacks,” (Skloot 1). Through the last few months of her life, she had major struggles with hospitals and scientists. Henrietta was in serious pain throughout the last few months, and the doctor treated her as a specimen. “Henrietta is still a miserable specimen,” (Skloot 66). Another major flaw in Henrietta story is the fact that her family was barely told of her condition of cervical
Henrietta Lacks is woman, whose cells have been used for 63 years after her death in 1951, and will continue to be used as long as they are continue to grow. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who was born in the south, who married her cousin and moved up north. After giving birth to her last child, she finds that she has cancer. The doctors took a sample of her cancer cells without her permission, and now have millions of dollars but the family is still hasn’t received the money they are rightfully entitled to. Many of healthcare and entitlements that are around today, are due to the ill treatment of Henrietta and her family. Still to this day, there is very little known about Henrietta Lacks, even with the book out, and she has
After her death in 1951, for six decades, Henrietta Lacks did not exist in the eyes of the society, but her cells did. How? Well, the answer is quite simple. HeLa Cells are the first immortal human cells. These cells never die and multiply every twenty-four hours. After spending 10 years to perfect her first book, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot essentially captured the life, the death, and aftermath of Henrietta Lacks’ life. With controversial issues regarding science, ethics, race, and class Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey. From the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover,
This research paper is based on the findings from the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”. What you will read and come to know is nonfiction. I wish I could put the pictures of what I have seen and read together here for you to perhaps get a better understanding. A story based on not Henrietta’s life being that of immortality, but rather cancer cells removed from her body without her knowledge. These were the first cancer cells to reproduce outside of her body. You will come to know about Henrietta, her cancer, her cells, and her immortal life. Perhaps we can all learn to appreciate life in greater means of appreciation after reading and knowing the life and immortal afterlife of Henrietta Lacks. You will learn about a woman, who like us, had a family, and ended up not being able to truly live life to its fullest. Making us all realize just how cancer is and the amazing research that came from being able to reproduce her cells. Not just for cancer but for various other illnesses that plague so many of us. My hope is that you take away from this a better understanding of a time we do not know, for the ups and downs of science and the possibility of immortal life.
The book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, was a nonfiction story about the life of Henrietta Lacks, who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Henrietta did not know that her doctor took a sample of her cancer cells a few months before she died. “Henrietta cells that called HeLa were the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory” (Skloot 22). In fact, the cells from her cervix are the most important advances in medical research. Rebecca was interested to write this story because she was anxious with the story of HeLa cells. When she was in biology class, her professor named Donald Defler gave a lecture about cells. Defler tells the story about Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells. However, the professor ended his
Just think about a human race free of genetic disease where everyone is intelligent and where society and technology advance at staggering rates. This is the future that is envisioned by those who advocate eugenics. Eugenics is the study of methods to improve the human race by selection of parents based on their inherited characteristics (Hartl). The idea was first discussed by Sir Francis Galton in the 1880’s, but was widely unaccepted by people at first due to fear that it would take away their basic human rights and be misused (Hartl). In the early 20th century, eugenics was a very popular and widespread idea in the United States and there were laws created to encourage certain people to have children, while discouraging others from procreating (Morris 66). The main reason eugenics has fell into such disfavor is because the Nazis cited it as the reason for the Holocaust (Morris 66). The use of eugenics by the Nazis can be compared to the use Islam by ISIS, or the use of Christianity by the Westboro Baptist Church. It is a concept that can be misused based on interpretation and extremism. Eugenics itself is just an idea to improve the human race by selective breeding, not by killing millions. Forms of eugenics should be implemented in society because they eliminate genetic diseases and problems, spread favorable traits and attributes, create a more intelligent and less flawed society, and help advance the human race as a whole.
There were 884 million doctor’s visits in the US alone in 2014, another 125 million counting hospital visits. It is clear that society trusts the doctors and nurses that it employs to uphold high standards to carry on with the task of saving lives. Our society doesn’t blink an eye and puts all its faith into doctors without question. Society assumes that all doctors are good and ignores the potential of an immoral doctor. A study conducted by the NCBI showed that 90% of all medical students have witnessed an unethical medical practice performed by the doctors that society had trusted. This means that if you had any doctor’s visits in the last few years, most likely you were a victim of an unethical practice. This is the situation that Henrietta Lacks faced at John Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s. Rebecca Skloot details the accounts of mistreatment and abuse that followed Henrietta Lacks in her novel The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks was an African American mother seeking cancer treatment at John Hopkins Hospitals, who ended up to be one of the biggest medical discoveries at the time. Doctors at the hospital discovered the power of her cells and in doing so abused and misuse Henrietta Lacks in the process, which ultimately led to her death. Although Henrietta Lack’s cells proved to beneficial to millions of people, the misconduct performed by the doctors is uncalled for and violates the oath that every doctor had sworn to. There is no