Henrietta Lacks Journal Entry

Topics: Johns Hopkins Hospital, HeLa, Rebecca Skloot Pages: 2 (630 words) Published: September 30, 2013

English 1101
9/21/13
Reading Journal 3:
Throughout Henrietta’s treatment there is confusion on whether or not she was discriminated against for being a Negro. Skloot’s dialogue and text implies that she received the same treatment and Johns Hopkins hospital as she would as a white woman, although the time period suggests differently. The advancements of modern medicine are substantial since Henrietta underwent her cervical cancer treatment and even since Skloot’s book was published, but even if the advancements in technology and sciences were present would they adhere to Lack’s case since she was an African American woman? Henrietta’s individuality suggests she was a loving mother as well as a strong devoted individual. She had a special connection with children in general not just her own. Henrietta’s strong personality is shown by her actions up until her death in 1951. The repetitious bleak doctor’s notes stand out to me throughout the first section of the book. The doctor seems to be removed from the disease and just hoping for the best and not scientifically searching for the best options for Henrietta Lacks. This rapid progression was all new and the doctors were at a loss of what treatments or medical paths should be taken. In Chapter 8 entitled “A Miserable Specimen,” he writes comments towards the end of Henrietta’s treatment such as, “Demerol does not seem to touch the pain. Morphine is tried, but this does not work either” (Pg. 66). Other notes include, “In view of rapid extension of the disease process the outlook is quite poor” (Pg.65) and, “She continues to complain of lower abdomen pain, no evidence. Return in one month” (pg. 63). By this point, the doctors have given up and just let Henrietta wallow in her misery until death. Prior to reaching the ultimatum that Henrietta was in fact was going to die; the doctors were still removed from the situation. This was evident in the initial doctors notes that hinted there was nothing wrong with...
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