5 December 2011
Henrietta Lacks Reflection
Henrietta Lacks is a mother, wife, and scientific discovery. Henrietta began her life as a normal human, growing up on tobacco farms. In 1951, her life changed forever due to the fact that she acquired cancer. Henrietta had a total of six children, in which five of them were born before the discovery of her cancer. Henrietta’s cancer proved to be quite significant in the scientific field. Her cells were taken from her body before and after her death without the consent of herself or her husband, Day. Rebecca Skloot wrote the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to tell the story of ...view middle of the document...
If the doctor considered their patients body as research as “payment”, they should have asked for money instead of assuming their bodies could be used as payment for scientific research.
George Gey, the doctor who met with Henrietta about her cancer, is a large contributor to the controversy of Henrietta Lacks. Georg e Gey took cells without consent and profited off of the medical discoveries made during this time. He did have the chance at one point to reveal the name of Henrietta Lacks in a story published by the Collier’s in 1954. He did not tell who the HeLa cells came from. He deliberately misleads the public because he did not want the real identity of Henrietta to be revealed. He of seems to want to keep the Lacks family out of the news reporters because he knows that the family cannot be interviewed because they do not know what is going on with their mother’s cells. Rebecca Skloot wrote that “one of Gey’s colleagues told me that Gey created the pseudonym to throw journalists off the trail of Henrietta’s real identity” (Skloot 109).
George Gey, who discovered the immortal cells, did not make a profit off of the cells. His motives could have seemed more genuine to the scientific advancement due to this fact. Other research companies did profit from selling Henrietta’s cells and could be seen as a business rather than a medical research facility. The motives behind Gey for keeping Henrietta’s name a secret and yet not profiting from using her cells is questionable. The honesty of the scientific advancement made by Gey is possibly higher than the integrity of other research companies.
The patients during the time that Henrietta Lacks lived believed that their doctor would tell them what to do and they would follow the instructions. Doctors knew more than the patients and they would just go by what the doctor would say. Today, people have confidence in their doctor but do question the actions and medications prescribed to them. Doctors do need to be ethically and morally responsible for their patients. If many of their patients die in these days, many people will know that the doctor is not looking for the patients’ best interest and no one will want that doctor.
In part three of the novel, a major topic was about the Lacks family and the effect that their mother’s cells had on their lives. One geneticist named Susan Hsu believed that the Lacks family should be proud of their...