Premium Essay

The Hela Story

Submitted By
Words 686
Pages 3
For twenty year since Hela cells firstly announced nationwide, Henrietta’s family hadn’t been realizing there some of her mother still alive. After He la cells became famous all nationwide, McKusick and Hsu, who are scientists “needed to find genetic markers that would identify HeLa cells. They called the family and asked for blood samples” (1251) saying Janice. However, they didn’t tell Henrietta’s daughter the real reason. They just called her to check see will she got same cancer as her mother did. At this time, Skloot describes that her daughter was very scared:
[M]c Kusick did not explain why he was having someone draw blood from Deborah. Instead he told her about Henrietta’s cells being used for the polio vaccine and genetic research; …show more content…
Skloot's sweeping characterization of the HeLa story is both poetic and right on the money. It tells us exactly why Henrietta's story captured her attention in the first place. The story of Henrietta Lacks and HeLa addresses not only the issue of racial exploitation and demonization, but also that of a patient's humanity and his or her right to compassionate care and privacy. It is clever how she links the "contamination" of the cells to the "one drop" policy of racial identification. In addition, Skloot added one more story about “They didn't know that on the other side of the country, a white man named John Moore was about to begin fighting the same battle. Unlike the Lacks family, he knew who'd done what with his cells, and how much money they'd made”(198) Skloot includes the story of Moore to show how differently things could go for a patient if he or she has the privilege of knowledge and money. And in this case, race. Would John Moore's case have garnered so much attention and effort if he were poor and black? In the end it didn't matter; he lost his case. Debora told Rebecca Skloot when she knew …show more content…
Rebecca Skloot shows the factors which are brutal about the extremely unfair life to poor blacks. Likewise, John Lantos says, “The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks that brought tears to my eyes” (22). Henrietta Lacks, black scientists, technicians and rest of black people was a part of America society. Without them, the world won’t have miracle HeLa cells. Through the Skloot’s book, even though the racism took all of black people’s entitles away, they are still living, fighting and contributing for their country, United States. As can be seen, they deserved a better life as much as white

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks Thesis

...In 1952 HeLa cells became the first living cells shipped through the postal mail. The Tuskegee Institution opened the first HeLa factory that same year. They were a nonprofit organization that supplied cells to laboratories and researchers. Later on the company Microbiology Associates began selling HeLa cells for profit. HeLa cells have been used to conduct thousands of researches and medical discoveries. It is estimated that there has been more than 60,000 studies published using HeLa cells. In 1952, HeLa cells were used to help develop a polio vaccine. These cells were also used to test a variety of other vaccines, which have since saved millions of lives. In 1965, HeLa cells became the first cells ever...

Words: 1865 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks Poverty

...found to be able to grow on long after her death, providing an amazing test subject for scientists and researchers everywhere. These cells, called HeLa, helped develop a polio vaccine and have helped scientists to learn about and treat vast amounts of other illnesses. But despite this triumph for the medical field, throughout the book, Henrietta’s descendants continue to be cloaked in poverty. Henrietta’s body made these researchers millions and her family continued to live in poverty despite their mother’s amazing contribution to science. Skloot creates this theme of poverty throughout the book by really immersing herself into the lives of Henrietta’s children and telling their stories throughout the book as well. She emphasizes the contrast between the success and wealth of the developers of HeLa with the poverty of the family of the...

Words: 981 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

...Rebecca Skloot explores ethical and moral controversies in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by sharing Henrietta’s story with the world by using rhetorical devices to show the transcendence of the “HeLa” cells, and creating clear images throughout the text to give an accurate narration of the events during and after Henrietta’s life. The lives of her relatives become a focus to work towards revealing to the world, the person behind the cells. The central focus of Henrietta’s life is when the “HeLa” cells were removed from her body and used for science. Being such an integral part of the story, Skloot enhances the audience’s understanding of it with her use of rhetorical devices. Without this the medical terms and processes would...

Words: 569 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Homework

...immediately broadcasts the forthcoming of a brand new wave of science that keeps everyone on the edge of their seat. There is one story, however, that did indeed change the world of science but took decades to surface. This intricate story is described in the award-winning book, “The Immortal of Henrietta Lacks”. Published just three years ago, Rebecca Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman, who became the source of the first line of immortal cells. Henrietta was born Loretta Pleasant in Roanoke, Virginia in 1920. Henrietta lived a typical life for a poor African American of that time - growing up on her family's tobacco farm until her mother’s death. By 1950, Henrietta had married her first cousin, David “Day” Lacks, birthed five children, and relocated to the Baltimore, Maryland area. In January of 1951, Henrietta went to the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital complaining of a “knot” in her lower abdomen. It was found that the knot feeling was due a dangerous and growing tumor in her cervix. After a formal diagnosis of cervical cancer, samples of Henrietta’s cervix were removed unbeknownst to her. The biopsy samples were given to Dr. George Gey, a tissue culture specialist. He was working on creating an immortal cell line to be used for human medical research. He discovered that Henrietta’s cells, later known as “HeLa” cells, were very unique because they grew exponentially faster than standard cell lines and never died. Henrietta Lacks...

Words: 1561 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks Inequality

...The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is, arguably, two different stories. It is the story of Henrietta Lacks and her family. It is also the story of Henrietta’s cancerous cells and how their impact on science changed her family forever. Henrietta Lacks explores racial and economic inequality and how they worked together to create an extremely unjust situation for the Lacks family. Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman who lived in Jim Crow era America. As such, when she fell ill, she did not have many options when it came to medical care. She went to her local doctor and was misdiagnosed. Her last option was to go to Johns Hopkins: the only hospital Lacks could afford that would treat African-American patients. It was miles away. When she finally arrived, she was sent to the “colored” ward. It was in this ward that her cells were harvested without her knowledge. This experimentation without the patient’s consent...

Words: 845 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Essay

...The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is uniquely arranged in a complex double plot line between Henrietta Lacks’ life story and the journey of discovery that the author, Rebecca Skloot, embarked upon in search of the truth behind HeLa (the cells of Henrietta Lacks). The narrative perspective of the work differs between both plot lines: the sections from the author’s point of view are spoken in first person, while the parts pertaining to Henrietta and her family have a third-person omniscient perspective. Beginning at Ch 29: A Village of Henriettas, the two plot lines of the novel converge, bringing together Rebecca Skloot and Henrietta’s devoted daughter, Deborah, as the two passionately collaborate to uncover the emotional shocking truth behind the mystery of HeLa. Book Context: Ch. 1-10 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks reveals the true story of the woman from the 1940-50s who was behind the miracle HeLa cells; these cells were the first to permanently survive outside the human body and they are still alive today in laboratories across the globe. Furthermore, these HeLa cells...

Words: 1599 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks Thesis

...untold stories of Henrietta. She investigates, interviewed and was able to reveal numerous unethical behavior within the health industry. Rebecca captured the hearts of her readers, revealed bioethics practices, and earned trust with the Lack’s...

Words: 1571 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Argumentative Essay On Hela Cells

...HeLa cells are being used to test a wide variety of scientific questions, including the effect of space on human cells. Scientists using cells were finding weird reactions. For example, George Hyatt created cancer on a subject because HeLa cancer cells had contaminated his cell cultures. It was thought that the contamination was due to disorganization and “cell sex”, but it was later by Stanley Gartler that HeLa cells could float on dust particles. Gartler discovered that all cell cultures had genetic markers of HeLa cells. All the past cell-related discoveries were due to HeLa cells without the researchers even knowing. Henrietta’s children did not grow up very well. Her daughter Deborah had a baby at sixteen, and eventually married the baby’s abusive, violent father. Joe, Henrietta’s son, went to jail for fifteen years for stabbing someone to death. All of this misfortune explains why the Lacks family is so distant to Rebecca Skloot. When Skloot visits the Lacks family, she realizes that they don’t really understand what HeLa cells are or have done. They then discuss much f the mistrust between...

Words: 353 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks Immortality

...case of HeLa, there is literal immortality, but Deborah’s quote raises questions about spiritual immortality as well. In classic and contemporary literature, what does it mean to be “immortal”? Analyze the various ways that Henrietta and Deborah achieve immortality. Immortality is the ability to live forever, or eternal life. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is about Rebecca Skloot’s journey to write a book about Henrietta Lacks and her cervical cells, known as the immortal HeLa cells that were used after her death, without her consent, to advance medical science research. At the end of Skloot’s book she quotes Henrietta Lacks daughter Deborah, “But maybe I’ll come...

Words: 807 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Jones

...questions related to the chapters below, or #2 you can develop your own project to show your understanding of the books concepts. You do this all the time in English class, now you can create your own project to present the many issues in the story of Hela cells. There are several questions to be answered below. Make sure you develop answers to each of the questions using complete sentences. DO NOT simply say “Ch 1 Q 1 No” I should not have to refer back to the question each time you answer a question to see what the question was…. incorporate the question into the answer and elaborate upon your answer when necessary. Prologue: The Woman in the Photograph 1. The author uses several similes to describe cells. What simile does she use to describe the way a cell looks? What simile does she use to explain the functions of the different parts of a cell? What do these similes suggest about biology? 2. What is mitosis? What beneficial biological processes involve mitosis? 3. What simile does Donald Defler use to describe mitosis? 4. What happens when there is a mistake during the process of mitosis? 5. According to Defler, how important was the discovery of HeLa cells? 6. As a high school student, Skloot began researching HeLa cells to find out more about Henrietta Lacks. Examine pages 5 & 6 and write down each step that Skloot took to begin her research. Chapter One: The Exam 1. Why does Sadie think Henrietta hesitated before seeing a doctor? ...

Words: 2703 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

...treatment of Henrietta at Johns Hospital. Dr. TeLinde at the Johns Hopkins was a leader researcher in this field, and interested in the demonstration of the then debate claiming noninvasive cervical cancer was merely invasive cancer. Cells were taken from her in the course of that exam and used without her consent in order to build up the first immortal cell line. In telling the story, the author draws from personal interviews and primary sources to offer insightful narrative accounts of the childhood of Henrietta, adulthood, her diagnosis, the illness, and tragic death. Rebecca expounds the HeLa’s birth and life and shows changes on the research concerning the realm of medical research, leading to both medical and scientific breakthroughs; however, also evolving and new policies about the research projects and patients’ rights. As the account of HeLa unfolds, the story of the surviving children of Henrietta as well unfolds, who for 20 years were conscious of the presence of the cells and the industry (multimillion-dollar) that developed around the use and production of HeLa. Central to this story is the rapport between Deborah and Skloot. As...

Words: 882 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

...Rebecca Skloot follows the story of the famous HeLa cell line, introducing us to the woman behind these cells, the family she came from, and how her cells swept the field of science. This book tells the story of how race, poverty, and the practices used in the fields of science and medicine in the last 100 years has led to the many of the modern day innovations we have, all thanks to the HeLa cells. In 1951, a young black woman admitted herself into Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to have doctors look at what she described as a knot on her womb. It turned out Henrietta had an aggressive case of cervical cancer, and almost 9 months after first visiting Hopkins, she died at the age of 31. Before she died, the doctors treating her had taken samples of her tumor and sent them to a man named George Gey who also worked in Hopkins, but was working to create the first “immortal” line of human cells in hopes of helping cancer research. Gey’s lab worked to grow and sustain cells in culture, using cervical cancer tissue samples from numerous women admitted into Hopkins. Although these women’s tissues were being used, it’s very likely that most, if not all, had no idea their tissues and cells were being used. This was the case with Henrietta’s tissue samples. Labeled “HeLa” for the abbreviation of her name, Henrietta’s cells became the first human cells to grow successfully in culture, and soon became known around the world. Gey’s lab sent samples of these HeLa cells all across the globe...

Words: 1076 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks

...modern medicine By Sarah Zielinski SMITHSONIAN.COM  JANUARY 22, 2010 1.3K 31 6 14 73 17 7.7K  1.3K31147367.7K Medical researchers use laboratory-grown human cells to learn the intricacies of how cells work and test theories about the causes and treatment of diseases. The cell lines they need are “immortal”—they can grow indefinitely, be frozen for decades, divided into different batches and shared among scientists. In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, created the first immortal human cell line with a tissue sample taken from a young black woman with cervical cancer. Those cells, called HeLa cells, quickly became invaluable to medical research—though their donor remained a mystery for decades. In her new book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, journalist Rebecca Skloot tracks down the story of the source of the amazing HeLa cells, Henrietta Lacks, and documents the cell line's impact on both modern medicine and the Lacks family. Who was Henrietta Lacks? She was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer when she was 30. A doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her tumor without telling her and sent it down the hall to scientists there who had been trying to grow tissues in culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died. Why are her cells so important? Henrietta’s cells were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture. They were essential to developing the...

Words: 1217 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Essay On The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

...the story chronicles the author’s search for the truth of Henrietta Lacks, an African American women whose cancer cells were harvested to create an immortal line of cells for scientific experimentation. The author tells Henrietta and her family’s story, including the backstory, emotional baggage, and more. Due to being mistreated by the media and scientific community. Skloot struggles to gain the family’s trust. The purpose of this book is to expose the issues of ethnicity and consent in medical research. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks obtained help for a “knot” on her cervix at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. There, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and received radium and x-ray therapy. Through this process, some of the tumor’s tissue was removed, and sent to George Gey, the head of tissue culture at the hospital, where...

Words: 791 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks Rhetorical Analysis

...very informative and persuasive article. The author was successful as informing and persuading me in this article. The unknown author’s purpose seems to be to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks threw a sort of legal and biased point of view. The first sentence in the article starts, “the restrictive agreement between the government and the family of the unknowing HeLa cells donor was welcome and long overdue” (Henrietta Lacks), this tells that the author knew and understood the wrongfulness that was done to Henrietta Lacks. The author uses most of the eight elements in the article, and makes it very informative and persuasive to a person that has no prior knowledge of the story of Henrietta Lacks. Using the element of critical thinking is...

Words: 456 - Pages: 2