Henrietta Lacks Book Report

Topics: Henrietta Lacks, HeLa, Cell culture Pages: 4 (877 words) Published: January 20, 2017


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is based off of how an author named Rebecca Skloot, describes learning about an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks died in 1951 as a result of cervical cancer, but her cancerous cells became the first immortal human cell line, which would be known as HeLa. Rebecca explains how HeLa made some of the most important discoveries possible in the 21st century. Rebecca then introduces Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, who turns out to be a key figure in the book.
In the beginning of the story, Rebecca narrates Henrietta’s first visits the Johns Hopkins hospital, where doctors first tell her she is fine, but they would eventually diagnose her with cervical cancer which will result in her having to be treated with radiation. Rebecca explains that Johns Hopkins was one of the best hospitals in the country, but that its employees were extremely prejudice towards African Americans. Rebecca then later on traces...

All the children suffered from this but Henrietta’s youngest child, Joe, who had suffered the most from their current living conditions. Shortly after Henrietta’s death, Joe became a troubled child who is always finding ways to get himself into trouble. Rebecca continued to explore Henrietta’s heritage, noticing that though her family was descended from white plantation owners and enslaved women, the clan were strictly divided into white Lackses and black Lackses, who never mix. A man under the name Chester Southam, injected HeLa and different cancer cells into patients without their knowledge. He became well known for his unethical practices. This process was officially banned by the New York Medical Board of Regents. The case then started a debate over questions of medical consent. As this conflict raged on, HeLa became far more widespread, contaminating hundreds of other cell...
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