Henrietta Lacks Thesis

Topics: Henrietta Lacks, African American, HeLa Pages: 4 (888 words) Published: October 12, 2015


For many decades, HeLa cells have helped scientists develop many achievements in vaccination, mapping chromosomes, and even cloning. HeLa derived from the first two letters of the first and last name of Henrietta Lacks. These cells were taken from her in the 1950’s without her or her family’s knowledge. Only twenty years after her death did they discover its’ existence.
Living as African American women of lower economic status during Henrietta’s time compared to life now are very different lifestyles, yet there are similarities.
Henrietta Lacks was born in 1920 in Virginia. She was a young mother of five children, three boys and two girls. After giving birth to her fourth child- Deborah- she found out that she had a “knot in her womb” and went to Johns Hopkins hospital for treatment. Back then in the 1950s, Johns Hopkins hospital was one of a few hospitals in the country because they accepted to treat black patients and the poor without payments. However, they still separated between blacks and whites. Henrietta had to go to the colored wards and enter a colored-only exam room. Her blood was labeled as colored before they stored it. In the end, when she died, her body was stored in a colored freezer. Doctor Howard Jones was...

It was hard to get in touch with Deborah. She had been through a lot after Sir Lord Keenan Kester Colfield, a con artist, tried to sue Johns Hopkins and the Lacks family. He attacked mainly Deborah and Courtney Speed, who tried to build a Henrietta Lacks museum. Fortunately, Johns Hopkins’ lawyer helped them to dismiss the case. However, she was frightened of everything and trusted no one after that. While her brothers and he father were trying to get money from Johns Hopkins hospital, Deborah was more interested in learning more about her mother. Discovering stories about Henrietta and her immortal cells gave Deborah the toughest time in her...
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