Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Essay

1109 Words 5 Pages
My ideal America values equal rights for all its people. I believe everyone in America deserves equal rights and proper treatment. My book proves how my ideal America is not being agreed with. I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of how the cells of Henrietta changed the future of science, but it also tells the story of her family and the injustice of the past. In 1951 Henrietta Lacks went to John Hopkins Hospital to have treatment to treat her cervical cancer. During the treatment, the doctors doing the treatment took a sample of her cells without her permission, and they were given to Doctor George Gey for culturing at his lab. Henrietta died October 4th, 1951 …show more content…
There were a lot of experiments being done that challenged ethics. A scientist named Chester Southam was doing cancer research and was testing people without their knowledge. “In February 1954, Southam loaded a syringe with saline solution mixed with HeLa. He slid the needle into the forearm of a woman who’d recently been hospitalized for Leukemia, then pushed the plunger injecting about five million of Henrietta’s cells into her arm. Using a second needle, Southam tattooed a tiny speck of India ink next to the small bump that formed at the HeLa injection site. That way, he’d know where to look when he reexamined the woman days, weeks, and months later, to see if Henrietta’s cancer was growing on her arm. He repeated this process with about a dozen other cancer patients. He told them he was testing their immune systems; he said nothing about injecting them with someone else’s malignant cells,” (128). He was injecting cancer cells into the arms of unknowing patients. Sadly this was a surprisingly common occurrence. “Since the turn of the century, politicians had been introducing state and federal laws with hopes of regulating human experimentation, but physicians and researchers always protested,” (131). In the 1950s there were still no laws requiring consent for medical procedures on patients. The only type of rules against medical experimentation on patients …show more content…
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells an important story about the past to teach us about the inequality in the past due to racial tensions, ethics, and class. The book talked about the ethics of important scientific research being done. I believe the experimentation being done were necessary to the advancement of medical science, but they should not have been done without consent. I also believe that this book is important to tell the stories of what life was like was like in the past for the poor black families. The things happening does not agree with my ideas of how people should be treated in America. Everyone in America should be treated properly and have equal

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