Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Chapter Breakdown (Summary) PART I – LIFE Chapter 1: “The Exam” Skloot focuses on the first stages of Henrietta’s cancer, incorporating Henrietta’s dialogue of her initial discovery—“I got a knot in my womb.” The word “knot” is repeated throughout this chapter to show it is not something that should be dismissed as irrelevant. Skloot briefly describes the historical context of the times; the racial segregation of the hospitals reveals the dynamic of a “colored” patient being seen by a white doctor. This chapter shows the first doctor visits that Henrietta goes through; the condition of her cervix is completely ignored. Chapter 2: “Clover” Skloot moves us back in time a
However, her real story that makes her known began in 1951 when she felt “a knot on her womb”. She went to Johns Hopkins Hospital, which was the closest hospital to them that treated black patients, and was diagnosed with cervical cancer. At first, she and her friends thought that Henrietta’s these symptoms were the result of her last pregnancy. Unfortunately, the case was not as simple as they thought, and some abnormal bleedings had started. During her treatments at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, two tissue samples were taken from Henrietta’s cervix and sent to Dr. George Gey by Lawrence Wharton without Henrietta’s permission.
Since modern medicine had been so well developed by Skloot’s time in college and there was not much racial prejudice in America as before, science books gave the brief mention of Henrietta Lacks to credit for scientific progress. The time period in which the book was written plays a role in understanding how much different it would have been if Henrietta’s cells had been discovered later rather than before. 3 Country of Author: Chicago, United States of America 4 Characters: Henrietta Lacks Henrietta is selfless and thoughtful. Henrietta, through her physical pain of her cervical cancer and emotional pain of leaving her struggling family, throughout her lifetime shows that she put her family before herself. As such an admired mother and person in general, her family and friends attempt to bring Henrietta's legacy to life in appreciation to her.
I entered my intro to sociology class this semester without any knowledge of who Henrietta Lacks was and how she so greatly and unknowingly changed the future of science. That all changed when my professor handed to the class a book called “The immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” written by Rebecca Skloot; on the cover was a black and white photo of a woman in a dress suit, smiling and hair pinned up. With hands on hips she appeared to be an ordinary beautiful woman, but her life and the story to follow after her death was everything but ordinary. Without her knowledge or consent and unrelated to her treatment doctors at John Hopkins Hospital took some of Henrietta Lacks’s cells from her cervix for research. Those cells and the trillions that would soon grow from them became the cornerstone of a “medical revolution” and have become one of the most important tools in science.
The story of Henrietta Lacks is something out of science fiction. The story of immortal cells begins with a young African-American woman who is diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in 1951; where without her knowledge, her Doctors at Johns Hopkins took tissue samples, healthy and malignant, from her cervix for research. Decades later her cells has changed the face of science, and the research of medicine with the help of these cells. This is a perfect story of whether ethics in science and morals of humanity can be debated if it’s for the greater good. In this novel you can clearly hear the biased voice of Skloot, she is clearly in favor of the Lacks family.
Soon after this form was signed George Gey would diagnose Henrietta with an advanced stage of cervical cancer. As Dr. Lawrence Wharton Jr., prepared to treat Henrietta’s tumor during a particular appointment he collected tissue samples from her infected cervix. Skloot points out, “Though no one had told Henrietta that Telinde was collecting samples or asked if she wanted to be a donor” (33). Furthermore, Dr. Wharton wrote in Henrietta’s chart, “The patient tolerated the procedure well and left the operating room in good condition.” On a separate page he wrote, “Henrietta Lacks…Biopsy of cervical tissue…Tissue given to Dr. George Gey.” (33). Why was it necessary to record the biopic treatment on a separate page?
Personal Viewpoint Learning about the cases of John Moore and Henrietta Lacks I came to the conclusion that the doctors should have informed them and their family of the unique and valuable cells they discovered in their bodies. From there they should have gotten consent from them to use their cells for research. If they would have agreed I believe they should have received some sort of compensation because without their precious cells they would not have been able to make cell lines and improve science. In Henrietta’s case, her family should have at least acquired health coverage because they were a low income family who could not afford medical care and after all, Henrietta did contribute greatly to medical research. In John Moore's
Ethical Principles Paper: Cancer Cell Research University of Phoenix Not a lot of people are familiar with the story of Henrietta Lacks. Before taking this course, I had no idea who she was, and the contributions she continues to make to this world. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman born in Virginia on August 1, 1920. For several years, scientists have been looking for a way to grow human cells outside the body, but no cell survived for more than a couple of days outside of the body. Henrietta Lacks cells from her tumor made their way to the laboratory of a researcher named Dr. George Otto Gey.
She knew internally what was happening. In the beginning, I believe she thought this was something that could be cured, but as her cancer progressed she accepted that what the doctors were doing for her was what they could do and nothing more could be done. Henrietta seemed like a person that just accepted things as they were, she was a minority and a woman. She was the strength of her family, both immediate and extended. In the book the family that is interviewed talks about Henrietta she was everyone’s mother, grandmother, and aunt.
Therefore, these are rights that can’t be taken away or unalienable, unalienable rights are rights that are unable to be alienated, given up, or transferred to someone else. They come from God, and no man or government can rightly give them or take them away. Some examples of unalienable rights are life; liberty; self-government; to bear arms; to purchase, develop and dispose of property; make personal choices; free conscience; choice of profession; choice of a mate; to assemble; to petition; and to free speech. Lastly, even with times passing and things changing, we have to remember that we the people are the authority in America. We have to educate ourselves for the sake of progress while still reminding ourselves that our Constitution is