The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Part 1

  • What did you first think about the reading?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was a book I had been wanting to read for a while but never got to. The book is a wonderful piece of literature, and Rebecca Skloot wonderfully captures all the controversies around the incident. Skloot’s telling of Henrietta’s history really moved the reader to sympathize with her situation. Also, in between bits of Henrietta’s story, Skloot comments on how she managed to obtain all the information she used. It is very surprising most people didn’t know about Henrietta, even though her cells were saving lives. Overall, the first part of this book leaves me hooked and wanting to see what comes next.

  • What did you learn?

In Part one, I learned much of Henrietta Lacks childhood and about her family. Also, the book explains that she had cervical cancer and how her doctor treated it with radium. Dr. George Gey was a doctor who was working to created an immortal cell line, and finally found it in Henrietta’s cervix biopsy, which was taken without her consent. Skloot especially comments on how Henrietta’s family is wary of reporters and speaking on the situation.

  • What questions do you still have?

This book brings up many questions. How did Skloot manage to convince Henrietta’s family to co-operate? Was there ever a trial on whether or not HeLa cells are legal to use since they were taken without consent? When was medical consent required in practice? Will Henrietta’s family ever get compensation?



One thought on “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Part 1

  1. You ask how did Ms. Skloot convince the family to talk to her. Ms. Skloot I think is someone we should all aspire to be for she was persistent and never gave up. That is how she got the family to talk to her, because after her endless calling and showing up they just gave up trying to avoid her. In addition, Mrs.Skloot did her homework and got in contact with Dr. Patillo, a man who had a Henrietta Lacks commemeration conference every year. Dr. Patillo made a phone call to the Lacks and that also helped Rebecca gain access.

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