The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Essay

999 Words4 Pages
HeLa. The four letter word you just read may be small at first glance, but within this word is a vastness of advancement, triumph, and sorrow bigger than mankind. After reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a profound novel written by Rebecca Skloot, it is clear the term “Hela” is a medical acronym for a woman named Henrietta Lacks. The majority of our society is ignorant to the existence of this woman decades ago, and what her life means to us. The manner in which she became a savior to millions after her death is anything but unusual. You see—mankind has always found ways to connive, bamboozle, and even challenge the very laws he creates. There are many issues discussed in this memoir. However, the one that stood out to me…show more content…
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? Why did Dr. Wharton fail to ask Henrietta if she wanted to be a donor? Was Henrietta Lacks even recognized as a human being with feelings and capable of making decisions? After all—she was a black woman living in the
Open Document