Modern Times: The Way Of All Flesh

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Modern Times: The Way of All Flesh is a 1997 one-hour BBC documentary by Adam Curtis about Henrietta Lacks and her HeLa cells. It won the Best Science and Nature Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Around this time, this documentary gave the first major exposure of Henrietta Lacks’s story to the public. Consequently, many more articles, books, and even songs and an episode on Law & Order were made about Henrietta Lacks, her cells, and her story. To put if briefly, the documentary is about Henrietta’s cancer cells, how they were taken from her without her knowledge, and how they were so extraordinary that they have affected the medical world in many ways. The question arises of whether the documentary has done her story …show more content…
In 1951, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. The documentary did not mention that John Hopkins was the only option for impoverished African American patients in the area and that it offered segregated medical care. The gynaecologist in charge, Dr. Howard Jones, reports that he was impressed when he saw the lesion since it did not look like cancer, as it was purple in colour and bled very easily on touching. By interviewing the medical practitioners in charge, the documentary gives the viewers a clearer and more credible idea of the situation. However, a medical practitioners commentary tends to be limited to their observations of the patient and the patients symptoms. Following Dr. Jones diagnosis of the tumour, samples of the tumour were given to George Otto Gey, the head of tissue culture research at John Hopkins. When analysed, he observed that her cancer cells did not die when in vitro, but instead continues to grow and increase in number. This was nothing short of phenomenal and on October 4 1951, when Henrietta eventually passed, Gey appeared on national television

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