The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

2388 Words May 17th, 2012 10 Pages
Megan Espy
Andrew Schussler
GEP 101.013
2 May 2012 Reflection Paper: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Indeed Henrietta Lacks’ life is immortal. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman of the 1950’s. She suffered from cervical cancer and eventually passed away at age 31. Because of her gender and race, she was treated unfairly and unable to receive proper treatment for cancer. A doctor by the name of Howard Jones was responsible for Henrietta’s diagnosis. As he examined the tumor in her cervix, he discovered it’s unusual size and color. Henrietta was then scheduled for treatment. The surgeon on duty was responsible for her treatment. His name was Lawrence Wharton. Because of Richard TeLinde’s theory, for research purposes,
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She examined herself and realized it was something more than just giving birth to five children. She discovered a large and hard lump. As soon as she got her clothes on, she told her husband she needed to go to the doctor.
She then went to her local doctor’s office. He figured that the lump was caused by syphilis. When the syphilis tested negative, the doctor said she should go to Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins was a hospital that specialized in gynecology. At this day and age, it was hard to get proper care because of her race. Johns Hopkins was the only hospital that the Lacks’ could go to because it was the only hospital for twenty miles that accepted black patients. Most of the public wards were filled with blacks that were unable to pay their medical bills. When Henrietta arrived at the hospital, a doctor by the name of Howard Jones examined her. He began by reviewing her medical history like most doctors would. Then he began examining the cervix. The tissues were so unusual that he sent a sample to pathology. It didn’t look like any tumor or lesion that he had ever seen before. Less than a week later, Jones got the results of her biopsy. Henrietta tested positive for cervical cancer. She was then referred to treatment.
Richard TeLinde was one of the top gynecologist’s at Johns Hopkins. He believed that noninvasive cancer was just an early stage of evasive cancer. He wanted to prove his theory so he began taking cultures from his patients and growing
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