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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
In the 1950s doctors didn't have to ask for consent and the patients just did what their doctors told them to do no questions asked. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot tells a true story about a 31 year old African American woman that had her cells taken by doctors without her consent and didn't get recognized for the contribution her cells made until later on when her family found out what the doctors had done.
It was no surprise that the doctors and scientists at Johns Hopkins hospital studied on African American patients without their knowledge. There were even tales of doctors who would kidnap black folks off the street at night and do awful treatments and experiment on them. Henrietta never thought a part of her would be the next test subject when she went to Johns Hopkins on January 29, 1951 for a painful "knot on her womb." When Henrietta was at the hospital for the check up her doctor, Dr. Howard W. Jones took a sample of the lump on her cervix and sent it to a lab for a diagnosis. Dr. Jones and a colleague, Telinde, were studying two cervical cancers and came to a conclusion that "62 percent of woman with invasive cancer who'd had earlier biopsies first had carcinoma in situ." In order to study the research they needed samples of women's cervix tissue. Telinde gave some samples of the patient's tissue to Gregory Gey who was more than happy to take them because he wanted to be the first person to make cells stay alive out of the body. Gey and his assistants would cut up cells and put them in culture every day. They didn't make much progress because the cells would just keep on dying and it would go on like this until the day Mary Kubicek divided HeLa cells and cultured them. Henrietta's cells (HeLa) didn't die. They kept growing and growing while Henrietta Lacks body kept dying and dying.
On October 4, 1951, Henrietta died of a strain of cervical...
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