Rebbecca Skloot Henrietta Lacks

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In Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” the ethical issue of the hospital taking Henrietta Lack’s cells seems be a very major deal and plays an important role throughout the entire book.

The books starts off telling you of Mrs. Lacks’ life struggles which helps build an emotional appeal to her. Rebecca Skloot painted a vivid picture of Henrietta’s life to help give the readers a greater of how immoral the doctors were when they took her cells without her permission. Henrietta was a part of a very poor family. The book describes how they didn’t have very much money so they left their home in Roanoke, VA to go to MD for a better job opportunity for her husband, David Lacks, which was also her 1st cousin. The doctors at John Hopkins typically felt like they had the right to take certain things from their patients who were in the public ward since they were a giving away a costly service for free. They felt like they were entitled to some kind of payment so taking cells from unaware patients was a justified trade-off in their eyes.

Henrietta had six children, so it safe to say that it was hard just living off of her David’s salary. The book described that several things were wrong with Henrietta, besides the cervical cancer. Henrietta also had syphilis and gonorrhea. Henrietta wasn’t the only person in her household that had medical problems either. Henrietta’s daughter, Elsie, was simple and Henrietta also had a couple of very young children. Her medical problems and her children’s medical needs were very costly, so as it was common for poor folk, they just ignored them. Henrietta’s family were too poor to afford health care and would continue to be to poor enough to afford health care after the doctors began to sell her cells without her permission and well after her death, even up to the point that this book was being written.

Henrietta’s cells were her property and no had the right to make a profit of it without her permission....
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