Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Essay

Superior Essays
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

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Original Hela Cells

    • 1049 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Her cancer could not be defeated and Henrietta died October 4, 1951. Before her death, Dr. George Gey of George Hopkins Hospital cut a piece of her cancerous cervix without Henrietta’s permission. After her death, Gey tested Henrietta’s cells and found her cells would grow in culture, unlike all the other cells Gey has tested in the past. Gey collected and cultured…

    • 1049 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    After Henrietta’s cells had been exposed to the world, a virologist by the name of Chester Southam began his own study of cancer research, “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” (Skloot 128). In the first place, Southam’s research was extremely over the line in regards to cancer research. All things considered, to inject already sick patients with cancer cells is illogical, and although some scientists scrutinized this research, many more agreed with the study. Thankfully, policies and codes were made to prevent more research similar to Southam’s.…

    • 1774 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She could feel that blackness spreading inside of her. While operating Henrietta, the doctor took samples of her tumor and sent to Gey’s lab for culturing. Since, all human cell usually died in the lab, Gey’s assistant, Mary wasn't excited about Henrietta's cells. Nothing much was happening to those cells of Henrietta. Until about two days later, when they start to grow uncontrollably.…

    • 899 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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…

    • 749 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    All this time, Deborah believed that she might have cancer. When she went to meet McKusick, she asked what happened to her mother and what the blood tests were for. McKusick explained that the HeLa cells were used for research and vaccinations. At this point the most painful thing for Deborah was thinking that parts of her mom were…

    • 1470 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Skloot talks about a Navy doctor named George Hyatt who cultured human skin cells to help treat burned soldiers. He experimented the cells he cultured on a volunteer in hopes it would grow new skin but instead it grew cancerous skin tissue (Skloot 138). This example Skloot used appeals to ethos because she discredits this doctor by showing the cell cultures doctors were using were contaminated with HeLa cells that eventually turned into cancer cells. Doctors were using these contaminated cultures on their patients wither they knew it or not. Another example Skloot uses, is when she discusses the HeLa bomb that was dropped by Gartler and how researchers were still using the same cells he said were contaminated (156-157).…

    • 950 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The center for Disease Control and Prevention says, “The men were never given adequate treatment for their disease. Even when penicillin became the drug of choice for syphilis in 1947, researchers did not offer it to the subjects. The advisory panel found nothing to show that subjects were ever given the choice of quitting the study, even when this new, highly effective treatment became widely used” (CDC). In my opinion, this should never be the case because every patient in a medical study should be informed on what they are participating in and should never be misled. Clinical trials however, are a necessary evil.…

    • 1995 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She was finally with her mother who she had longed to know for so long. The main characters of this book: Henrietta Lacks, a woman who died of cervical cancer and whose cells were taken and never stopped growing. Day Lacks, Henrietta’s husband who took her to John Hopkins and visited her. Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter who wanted to know more about her mother and her immortal cells. Dr. Jones, Henrietta’s gynecologist that first examined the tumor on her cervix.…

    • 1001 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    I support a less is more practice of medicine. I tried to avoid giving medication, but I strongly recommend vaccination." "In my practice, I have seen kids with tetanus, mumps, chicken pox, rotavirus, and invasive pneumococcus. We had a bad pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak in Okinawa a few years ago in the schools. As a medical student, I took care of a 23 year old woman who delivered her second baby and then had a radical hysterectomy, because cervical cancer was detected on the Pap smear at her new OB visit (cause by the HPV virus that is vaccine preventable).…

    • 1565 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The cancer soon overtakes Lacks body, and she dies, leaving behind her husband and five children. Before losing her battle, scientist George Gey and the doctors at John Hopkins, removed DNA and tissue samples, later known as “HeLa,” from Lacks body without her knowledge to be cultured and researched. As her cells were being researched, the “HeLa” cells began to grow at an amazingly fast rate. Through these tests, Gey and his team discovered and realized that they had in fact just made a historical breakthrough in the medical technology world. For years scientists had been trying to keep human cells alive to run experiments and…

    • 1023 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays