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The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks ( summary of part 2 of the book) - Essay Example

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The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks ( summary of part 2 of the book)

Due to the fact that at its peak around 20,000 test tubes a week were being produced at Tuskeegee, it was at this juncture that the idea of personhood began to be diminished within the eyes of the researchers. HeLa became less and less of a person and more of a resource and a medical material rather than evidence of an original human being that gave rise to such cells. As with previous chapters within the book, the author runs between analyzing the medical research that is being carried out on the “still living” cells of Henrietta while contrasting this with the life that her children and family she left behind experienced. Although the medical experimentation was continuing and advancing, Henrietta’s family was experiencing trauma as a direct result of the lack of a mother. The children bounced from one location to the next, at one location the 2 year old girl was sexually abused, until they finally were reunited with Bobette and moved in with her. The author juxtaposes this personal story with the fact that HeLa was beginning to experience a great deal of discussion in the media of that time as news articles began to be published. Due to the fact that doctor-patient confidentiality was becoming an issue at the time, the patient was merely referred to in the news stories as Helen L. The author further uses this personal commentary to discuss the grave site of Henrietta. She juxtaposes the fact that the tomb itself is unmarked with the fact that the only remainder of Henrietta still in this world is her children and the cells which have continued to be kept, monitored, and multiplied. Chapters 18 and 19 tell the dual stories of trouble that the scientists faced with contaminated cell lines and the personal problems that Henrietta’s children were experiencing; no doubt as a function of her early passing (Skloot 129). Firstly, the medical experiments revealed that at some point, some of the cells in question had been contaminated with other lines; this meant that the rigor of the research was called into question and the researchers must go back and trace the mutations as a function of this contamination. Furthermore, the author juxtaposes these research issues with the fact that Henrietta’s children began to experience major issues of their own. The book proceeds to tell the story of the way in which HeLa’s cells have been found in 18 cell lines that have been used for cancer research. This revelation is juxtaposed with the personal story of Rebecca’s meeting with the Lacks family in early 2000. As she discusses the result of the experiments and the way in which HeLa’s cells have been used, the Lacks family is angry. First they are angry at the fact that Henrietta’s cells have been taken according to them “without her consent” and second they are angry due to the fact that they believe a great deal of money has been made on the sale of her cells. As such, the family demands a share of that money. The darker side of humanity is herein presented as the medical advancement that has been made possible through the use of Henrietta’s cells is broken down as a function of its money making potential to the surviving family members. The analysis continues to depict a family that is not only interested in the overall privacy of their family but also worried by the fact that they ...Show more

Summary

Name Date The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Summary of Part 2 – Chapters 12-22 Summary Chapter 12 of the book opens with a brief discussion of how HeLa has impacted the world of cellular research. As Henrietta’s family at last gave permission for an autopsy and for the hospital to obtain tissue samples, the study upon Henrietta Lacks’ at the cellular level began…
Author : laruelehner
The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks ( summary of part 2 of the book) essay example
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
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These cells became celebrities in the world of medical research and have given success to many scientists and science projects. What is even more worrying is that the name of the contributor of the cells was changed, and this as Jeffery (2009) says, is a thing that needs to be changed in the medical research field.
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Conversely, the chapter tracks the story of how the medical professionals who had recently discovered the contamination problem that has been related in the prior summary paper that was submitted could be solved. The medical researchers decided the best means to solve the contamination issue would be to obtain genetic markers from Henrietta Lack’s family as a means of specifically determining which cells were contaminated and which cells were not.
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But, lying on the bed of St John Hopkins’s hospital and battling with cancer, Lacks had no idea that her tumorous cells would become important tools for medical research. Dr.Gey, Henrietta Lack’s doctor, extracted some of the tumorous tissues for research purpose and noticed their surprisingly rate of proliferation and began using it for his own research endeavors.
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However, the book discusses a number of ethical issues that are associated to HeLa cells and makes one wonder about the ethical issues that exist today. Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman and a mother five was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Dr.Gey noticed that Lack’s tumorous cells behaved astonishingly abnormally and divided really fast when compared to other tumor cells.
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Reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
It is an exact depiction of the emotional turmoil faced by Henrietta's family, during their journey to find about Henrietta's immortal cancer cells, named as HeLa cells, used for research without the patient or family’s knowledge or consent . These cells because of its rare kind were a great scientific discovery and still hold importance in scientific research.
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Rebecca Skloot in her book, the Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks delves into the truth behind HeLa cells and highlights several ethical issues that gently surface. Henrietta lacks cancer cells were abnormal in nature. Lack’s doctor, Dr.Gey noticed that the cells grew exponentially in a short span of time, which was the same rate at which they were growing and spreading in Henrietta’s body.
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The author shows struggling of two main characters of the story – mother and daughter, reviling the internal world of both women. The mother struggled to help her daughter, praying for her to be healed at revival meetings to no avail. Skloot claimed “a bit of Henrietta died” when Elsie, her daughter, went away.
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