Henrietta Lacks Essay

The book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot covers multiple topics regarding legal, cultural, and medical issues in health care through the story of Henrietta Lacks, her children, and her immortal cells.
Henrietta Lacks was born in 1920 in Roanoke, Virginia. While living in what her family called the “home house”, Henrietta shared a room with her first cousin David, or Day. In 1935, when Henrietta was 14, the two had a child named Lawrence. They later had another child, Elsie, in 1939 who was mentally disabled. They eventually moved to Maryland, where they had more children and placed Elsie in the Hospital for the Negro Insane. In January of 1951, Henrietta had a lump in her cervix that she had diagnosed at John Hopkins hospital, who offered free health care to blacks. Howard Jones, a physician, diagnosed her with cervical cancer. George Gey, a scientist took samples without…

If Henrietta’s cells had not been taken, the world would not be what it is today scientifically and medically. Many people could have died without cures and immunizations HeLa helped develop. We would not have known what effects certain atmospheres, such as space, have on cells or what the human genome looked like. HeLa cells are still making a difference today. What was most important about this book though is that it showed there was a human and an interesting story behind HeLa. HeLa was not just a cell group used for research. It was a sample from a dying black woman.
If someone asked me if they should read this book, I would say, and have said, yes. This story covers so many ethical issues and topics of discussion through an unbelievably but true story in a spectacular way. I have personally learned quite a bit from reading this book and others should share the…