The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

1499 words - 6 pages

After her death in 1951, for six decades, Henrietta Lacks did not exist in the eyes of the society, but her cells did. How? Well, the answer is quite simple. HeLa Cells are the first immortal human cells. These cells never die and multiply every twenty-four hours. After spending 10 years to perfect her first book, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot essentially captured the life, the death, and aftermath of Henrietta Lacks’ life. With controversial issues regarding science, ethics, race, and class Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey. From the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia to East Baltimore, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells, Skloot remarkably shows the story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans along with the issue of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. The most intriguing aspect of this story is how is it that HeLa cells were used to develop the polio vaccine, uncover secrets of cancer, viruses’, and the effects of the atomic bomb, and help lead to important advancements for vitro fertilization, cloning, and genes mapping, yet, her five children are not even covered by medical insurance.
Can’t the family sue for a profit? This question has been asked multiple times and in various forms, but the answer remains controversial. As Skloot addresses in her book, many lawyers point out that the family “cannot sue over the cells being taken…[but] they could attempt to stop HeLa research through a lawsuit, even though they doubt it will succeed”. Is it worth the fight though? Some blame it on the initial aspect of racism during Henrietta’s lifetime. It clearly obvious that to George Guy- the man who discovered HeLa cells- Henrietta was the same black women she was before she died and after she died. During this period of time, there were no set laws regarding that a patient must give permission or be notified if they cells were extracted from them. Even so, being African American and a woman during this extremely racist time period there was guarantee that she would even be told or lied to, similar to the 600 African Americans who were involved in the Tuskegee syphilis experimentation who were actually lied to.
Regardless, the unconsented medical experimentation of African Americans has been active from the colonial times to present day. In his book, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Experimentation on Black Americans From the Colonial Times to Present, Harriet A. Washington captures the beginning of this abuse to as early as the times of slavery. Malcolm Mills, a journalist wrote a review on this book and comments on how Washington “paints a powerful portrait of the medical establishment's abuse of power by...

Find Another Essay On The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

1371 words - 6 pages completely unaware of the existence of HeLa. Although Rebecca Skloot is staying relatively objective overall, she does try to emphasis certain problems in her book. The main claim of ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ is showing the ethical and moral side of research done with humans and human material. The racial issues related to this subject are also highlighted. Besides, Rebecca Skloot also gives a human touch to the HeLa-cells. By telling

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

941 words - 4 pages The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by: Rebecca Skloot has a lot of themes, but one that is most relevant in my opinion is the racial politics of medicine. Throughout the chapters there were examples of how Henrietta, being African American, prevented her from receiving the same treatment as the white woman sitting right next to her in the waiting room. The story begins with Henrietta going to Johns Hopkins Hospital and asking a physician to

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

1196 words - 5 pages distribute them globally. Rebecca Skloot, a science journalist and the author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, found interest in the HeLa cell story from a young age. She was determined to find out able the woman behind the cells. Skloot wanted to know who HeLa was and about her story. Skloot writes the novel in an intriguing way, bouncing back and forth between Henrietta’s family’s experiences coming from a struggling tobacco farm, with

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

1850 words - 7 pages Henrietta Lacks is not a common household name, yet in the scientific and medical world it has become one of the most important and talked names of the century. Up until the time that this book was written, very few people knew of Henrietta Lacks and how her cells contributed to modern science, but Rebecca Skloot aimed to change this. Eventually Skloot was able to reach Henrietta’s remaining family and through them she was able to tell the story

Living in a Rural Area: Relating With Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

1549 words - 6 pages just be me missing my childhood though. In Rebecca Skloot’s book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” Henrietta spent her childhood in Clover, VA. Picking tobacco, and doing grunt work in the fields. Although, my childhood was MUCH different from that, in a weird way, I could relate. I spent my summer days as a kid, hand mowing a 5 acre lawn, and then raking it. The whole process took about 3-4 days, and by the time I was done, it was

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Review

989 words - 4 pages In the non-fiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, author Rebecca Skloot sets out to find out the story behind Henrietta Lacks, the woman who was the original source of the famed HeLa cell line. The HeLa cell line is famous for being considered “immortal” as the cells divide without stopping or dying. They have helped scientific research in various areas, although their infinite growth has caused problems in labs as it can outcompete

Review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

881 words - 4 pages policy giving it a very wide range of interests. One of the most interesting aspects is that it doesn’t get stale with the normal linear progression. While I’m not usually a fan of this style due to it becoming hard to follow, this would be an exception to my normal attitude and would highly recommend this book. Works Cited The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. London UK: Pan Books, 2011. 431 pages. Reviewed by Robert Walsh.

Analysis of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

3168 words - 13 pages . References National Institute of Health Belmont Report (1979) Retrieved November 5, 2013 from http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.html. NBC News. NIH Finally Makes Good With Henrietta Lacks‘ Family – And It’s About Time. Retrieved November 5, 2013 from http://www.nbcnews.com/health/nih-finally-makes-good-henrietta-lacks-family-its-about-time-6C10867941. Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Report

1900 words - 8 pages The book that I read was the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, about a black women who’s cells taken from a tumor in her cervix divides at a high rate. This is huge because Henrietta’s cells divided and didn’t die, unlike all of the other samples taken by the doctor. The author Rebecca Skloot is part of the story and becomes a friend of the remaining Lacks’, interviewing them about Henrietta. The main point of the book is the science behind the

“Her name was Henrietta Lacks:” Discussing the Bioethical Issues presented in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

1027 words - 5 pages .” Works Cited Belmont Report (1979). The Belmont Report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research. Retrieved from hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.html Skloot, R. (2010). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Crown Publishers, New York.

Submerge the Cells, Drain the Body, Protect the Soul: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

1112 words - 5 pages people do bad things that have good outcomes and get away with it. Rebecca Skloot’s nonfiction novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, questions the morals behind decisions that can benefit the human population. Does it make it acceptable to steal because stealing this particular thing (Henrietta’s cells) “helped develop drugs for treating herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, and Parkinson’s disease” (Skloot 10)? Rebecca Skloot hones in on

Similar Essays

Critical Analysis Of The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

1259 words - 5 pages The book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, was a nonfiction story about the life of Henrietta Lacks, who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Henrietta did not know that her doctor took a sample of her cancer cells a few months before she died. “Henrietta cells that called HeLa were the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory” (Skloot 22). In fact, the cells from her cervix are the most important advances in

Ethos In The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

704 words - 3 pages emphasizing on the credibility of both herself and all the other characters in the novel. She demonstrates this rhetorical strategy by indicating titles and achievements her characters in the novel. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot develops the rhetorical strategy of ethos through the use of her characters in the novel consisting of Skloot herself, George Gey, and the virologist Chester Southam. A prime example of Skloot appealing

Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

1144 words - 5 pages Cancer is a genetic disorder characterized by the excessive proliferation of cells (Kocher slide 4). The genetic disease itself is not inherited however, but is dependent on a number of factors, which include inherited mutations, induced mutations, and environmental contributions (Kocher slide 8). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot examines the life of a cervical cancer patient, named Henrietta Lacks, whose malignant tumors

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks 1575 Words

1575 words - 6 pages from the common cold. HeLa cells helped scientist understand many of the diseases we have today and also helped to understand how they affected the body. HeLa cells are the main reason why we live so long. Today, HeLa cells are still growing and living in labs all over the world. Works Cited Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown Publishers, 2010.