The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“Mr. Kemper, I’m John Doe with Dee-Bag Industries Incorporated. I need you to sign some paperwork and take a ride with me. Don’t worry, I’ll have you home in a day or two,” he said. Then he pulled a document out of his briefcase, set it on the coffee table and pushed a pen in my hand.
It's actually two stories, the story of the HeLa cells and the story of the Lacks family told by a journalist who writes the first story objectively and the second, in which she is involved, subjectively. The contrast between the poor Lacks family who cannot afford their medical bills and the research establishment who have made millions, maybe billions from these cells is ironic and tragic. It has been established by other law cases that if the family had gone ...more
“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?”
I've moved this book on and off my TBR for years. The truth is that, with few exceptions, I'm generally turned off by the thought of non-fiction. I'm a fan of fictional stories, and I think I've always felt that non-fiction will be dry, boring and difficult to get through. Especially a book about science, cells and medicine when I'm more ...more
*Fantastically interesting subject!
One woman's cancerous cells are multiplied and distributed around the globe enabling a new era of cellular research and fueling incredible advances in scientific methodology, technology, and medical treatments. This strain of cells, named HeLa (after Henrietta Lacks their originator), has been amazingly prolific and has become integrated into advancements of science around the world (space travel, genome research, ...more
But in her effort to contrast the importance and profitability of Henrietta's cells with the marginalization and impoverishment of Henrietta's family, Skloot makes three really big mistakes. F ...more
A young black mother dies of cervical cancer in 1950 and unbeknownst to her becomes the impetus for many medical advances through the decades that follow because of the cancer cells that were taken without her permission. This book evokes so many thoughts and feelings, sometimes at odds with one another. It is thought provoking and informative in the details and heartbreaking in the rendering of the personal story of Henrietta Lacks. I was madder than hell that people/companies made l ...more
Some interesting topics discussed in this book
Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1950's
Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the best hospitals in the USA. It was built in 1889 as a charity hospital for the sick and poor in Baltimore. In the 1950s, Hopkins' public ...more
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) is a non-fiction book by American author Rebecca Skloot.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine.
The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dea ...more
Henrietta Lacks vs. Jesus: Final Exam
(With apologies to believers)
Please read the following excerpts, and answer the questions below:
From the Last Supper:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many fo...more
Yeah, I know I wrote that like the teaser for one of my mysteries but the only mystery here is how people who have profited from the diseased cells that killed a woman can sleep at night while her kids and grand kids don't have two nickels to rub together ...more
In 1951 a poor African American woman in Maryland became an uninformed donor to medical science. Henrietta Lacks died at age 31 of cervical cancer at John Hopkins hospital in Baltimore. Then doctors discovered that tumor cells they had removed from her body earlier continued to thrive in the lab - a medical ...more
While I had heard a great deal of buzz on the book, I wasn't prepared for how the story evolved. The book alternates between Henrietta Lacks' personal history, that of her family, a little of medical history and Skoot's actual pursuit of the story, which helps develop the story in historical context. Skoots incl ...more
Henrietta was a poor black woman only 31 years of age when she died of cervical cancer leaving five children behind, her youngest, Deborah, just a baby. Her story is a heartbreaking one, but also an important one as her cancer cells, forever to be known as HeLa taken without her consent or knowledge, saved thousands of lives.
The story of Henrietta Lacks is a required read for all, specifically for those interested in life and science.
When this Henrietta Lacks book started tearing up the bestseller lists a fe ...more
-legacy left by slavery and how it affected Henrietta Lacks and the members of her family, and African Americans in general (where they lived, what kind of employment was available to them, the quality of education available to them, the history of abuse and violence, and the impact on their mental health, and the quality a ...more
The sad ...more