When I first heard about the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", I thought it wasn't going to be interesting to read. But when I saw the front cover of the book, it got my attention. I started reading and got more interested in the book, particularly in Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells. In "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", Rebecca Skloot talks about Henrietta Lacks and how her cells were taken without her permission, and how her family suffered afterward. Skloot shows how medicine and science were seen back in the 1950's compared to now. .
Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five who died of cervical cancer at only thirty-one years of age. When she passed away the doctors at John Hopkins asked her husband, David Lacks, if they could do a biopsy on her. At first he said no, but he finally told them they could go ahead. The doctors never told him or his family that they were going to take her cells and keep them. Nor did they tell the family that Henrietta's cells were growing at an incredible rate and were being shipped and bought across the world. .
Many companies made a lot of money from Henrietta's cells, known as HeLa cells, while her own children couldn't afford their medicine and surgery bills. Henrietta's family didn't know about the HeLa cells until scientists investigating the cells began using her husband and children in research without their informed consent. Even though the HeLa cells became a multi-million dollar industry after Henrietta's death, her family never received any compensation or profits. .
Back then it wasn't required by doctors to ask patients for their consent. So when Henrietta died, it was not required to tell her family that the researchers would be using and maybe even selling the cells. If it had been required to ask patients and pay them for the product of their cells, the Lacks family would have known much sooner and could have had the proper medical care they should have had.