The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a book by Rebecca Skloot that tells the story of a woman named Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951. A few months before her death, a doctor took a small sample of her cancer cells, which became the first and most important line of human cells to survive and multiply in a laboratory setting. Her cells helped scientists make some of the most important medical advancements in history, but the cells were taken without her knowledge or permission. Henrietta 's cells have had a major impact on public health by allowing scientists to grow cancer cells which they can study in order to find ways to fight it. Although the discovery of her cells has done wonders for the medical field, …show more content…
When discoveries were made that improved quality of life for the overall community, the field of public health wanted to study the cells as much as possible by as many different people as possible. George Gey sent out many samples of Henrietta 's cells to scientists everywhere which jump started the research being done on the cells. HeLa cells proved to be extremely helpful in the efficient and economic testing of the polio vaccine. This led to cell production at the Tuskeegee institute. Where they grew up to twenty thousand test tubes each week. These cells were being sold to other scientists interested in research. Microbiological Associates launched the first industrial scale, for profit cell distribution center, growing HeLa cells and shipping them to scientists. This was the beginning of a multi billion dollar industry. The reaction of the field of public health was to study HeLa cells as much as possible. This was successful in improving quality of life through the medical and genetic discoveries made from studying the cells. The field of public health was unsuccessful when immoral experiments were conducted. A specific experiment is when Chester Southam injected over 600 people with cancer cells when he told them he was testing for cancer. He was testing a if HeLa vaccines could actually cause cancer. He was not honest about what he was testing and some …show more content…
The response to the success of HeLa cells was that every scientist wanted to get their hands on these cells. Testing was successful and continues to be successful in improving our knowledge on medicine and genetics. The public health response was adequate on a national level. The overall public health of the nation improves because of increased ability to fight diseases. Where the response of the public health field was not adequate was at the individual level. Tests were done with HeLa cells that put individuals at risk. Also, the public health response failed at the individual level because Henrietta 's rights were never considered. Doctors took a piece of her own body to research without her permission. Even after the cell proved to be able to survive in a lab, Henrietta still had no idea. Years after Henrietta passed away, her family was never informed that her cells were saving millions of lives, not to mention making people millions of dollars. I think the situation should have been handled differently. I would have asked Henrietta if we could use her tissue. I am sure that she would have consented knowing her cells could save peoples ' lives. Also I would have given the family financial compensation once it was known that her cells have done so much. This would have changed Henrietta and her family’s ' situation, because they could have made

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