After reading the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I was truly touched and surprised with all of the studies they discovered about HeLa cells, and the court decisions that lead to today’s evolving policies concerning patients’ rights to medical consent procedures. The life story of Henrietta Lacks and her family was very interesting while it explained all of the social, economic, and everyday life struggles. I liked how the novel weaved together Henrietta’s childhood, young adulthood, diagnosis, illness and tragic death. The story had a huge impact and much success with making a foot print on medical research because of HeLa cells. The novel did great with recording every bit of discovery of the HeLa cells such as the creation of the multimillion dollar industry around the cells. It captured the HeLa discoveries from beginning to end. “Henrietta’s were different: they reproduced an entire generation every twenty-four hours, and they never stopped.
They became the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory.” It told the removal of the cells, and how all the research contributed to scientific breakthrough. The investigation of Skloot led the true story which changed relationships with the surviving members of the family especially Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah. As the HeLa story unfolds so does Henrietta’s family after she passed away. In the novel I felt the biggest empathy for Henrietta Lacks family, especially Deborah,she never appreciated the injustice her family suffered as a result of doctors at John Hopkins taking her cells. reading about how poor her family was and how they barely had money to live by broke my heart. The cells where making big money while they had no idea they were using their own mothers cells. As Skloot said in the book” She’s the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother is so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance?” It really captures the injustice at the time of era. One of the big people involved at the beginning of the story was George Gey.
Courtney from Study Moose