The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

895 Words4 Pages
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, tells the story of how a young black woman died from cervical cancer and that her cells were harvested and grown in a laboratory without her consent. Shortly before her death, a doctor removed a small section of her cancer cells for testing and for research purposes. These cells would become the first and most important line of human cells to survive and continually grow in the laboratory environment. Her story highlights how African American people were exploited, treated differently than whites and were used for experimentation. The author, Rebecca Skloot, became fascinated with the story of the HeLa cells and the life of Henrietta Lacks while still in high school. In 1951, a young black woman went to see the doctors at The Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) about pains in her lower abdomen, unusual bleeding and a tumor. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and samples of her cancer cells were harvested and given to a researcher named George Gey. His team had been trying to grow human cells outside of the human body, but had failed to accomplish this prior to receiving Henrietta Lack’s cancer cells. Surprisingly her cells not only grew in the laboratory, but were resilient and grew at a fast rate. Her cells were named HeLa. I was shocked that The Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) would harvest her cells without her permission. The operation permit form that she signed only gave permission for the staff of JHH to perform any procedure that

More about The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

Open Document