Review of a Book about Henrietta Lacks

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Ch1 – Henrietta Lacks starts her life in Baltimore, Maryland as a young African American woman, she was going to Johns Hopkins Hospital to have a wound examined but she also lived kind of far away. One of the main reasons she was concerned is that she was bleeding outside of her menstrual cycle. During her visit to JH, there were still jim crow laws which made it harder to treat because of the Colored wards. Reflecting on this I think that in this chapter they are making it much harder for treatment and less attention and I can also see that she is suffering.

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Ch2 – Henrietta Lacks was born as Loretta Pleasant in Roanoke, Virginia in 1920 than in 1924 when her mother died, her father took her back to his hometown of Clover so that relatives could help him raise his 10 children. Henrietta ended up with her grandfather Tommy Lacks living in an old shack on a tobacco plantation with her cousin David Lacks. Henrietta also had a daughter but Elsie was affected by Henrietta’s syphilis and has epilepsy. This chapter I can see that she had a hard time living especially when her mother died and that her mother 10 children and they had a hard time living but also I know how life was back then and I despise how it was but it’s part of life for many families.

Ch3 -This chapter is talking about when Dr.Howard got his Henrietta’s biopsy of her cervix back and it was stage one cancer. TeLinde (Boss) argued that cervical carcinoma is considered non-invasive cancer but may still spread becoming something serious if not cured. Not everyone was convinced because it was something new and they were all thinking different thoughts. Reflecting back on this chapter I think that Dr.Richard Wesley TeLinde is absolutely correct when he says that it will spread and become worse but back in that time it was new so it would be hard to say or really believe that.

Ch4 – Henrietta after multiple days in the hospital seemed to be doing ok but not the best. Docs removed the radium from her cervix and sent her home. Henrietta had to return soon for another treatment. Then before she was sent home they took cells from her cervix and Dr.Gey was trying to make her immortal with cells and it was going to be the birth of HeLa. This chapter shows that they were trying to make her immortal and be able to test her cells and that she was doing well in the hospital and that they were going to send her home.

Ch5 – Once she was released from the hospital Henrietta went back to a sort of normal life. She didn’t seem to be sick from the abnormal amount of radiation that went into her body. Then after her fifth child and Elise going to a Mental hospital for minorities. Henrietta was able to keep her cancer secret from everyone until she had to start x-ray therapy which required her to go to Hopkins every day for a month and then more bad news came her X-ray therapy made her very sick. Looking back on this I think that back then there was no real help for many illnesses and that I was a problem. But in the beginning, I can see that she was doing well but then she got sick so that isn’t good.

Ch6 – In this chapter, Skloot is talking about Cancer control and making a book about her. Then also in this chapter Pattillo tell Skloot about Deborah Lacks Henrietta’s younger daughter is still alive. He also tells her about Elsie. In this chapter, I am able to see that Henrietta was becoming famous and that there was going to be books about her and that all the kids get to know about Elise.

Ch7 – In this chapter, George Gey appeared on a television show on April 10, 1951, to explain to the audience new methods in the fight against cancer. He explained it on a detailed r level using his films showing how a cancer cell quickly splits. Then many people found out and Pretty soon Henrietta’s cells were in labs all over the world. Once a lab had them, they could grow more and pass them to other researchers. In this chapter, this is truly remarkable because they are able to pass her cells all over the world and then they could all do tests to cure cancer.

Ch8 – Henrietta’s condition worsened though her doctors can’t really see that the cancer is spreading. She had some abdominal pain but other than that looked fine. When she complained again of pain the doc still insisted she was ok despite the number of pain she’s in. But a few weeks later Henrietta was diagnosed with deadly cancer. They sent her home. Soon, her abdomen was full of tumors and Henrietta was in indescribable pain. In this chapter, I am able to see that there may be some speculation on the care and treatment on Henrietta but the care was the same for black and white patients. So overall I think that there may have been some discriminati9n in the patients care but I am not able to say it for sure.

Ch9 – Skloot travels to Baltimore in the hopes that she’ll meet with Sonny, Lawrence, Day and Deborah. But so far, nobody’s calling her back, despite the agreed upon plan. In her search of the neighborhood, she runs into a man in front of a church where community meetings about a Henrietta Lacks Museum took place. He promises to take her to Courtney Speed who started a foundation for the creation of a museum. In this chapter, I am able to see deception and that has affected Skloot because she has not been able to meet with the family and that has enabled her. But then she meets someone who will help her and I can see that she is happy.

Ch10 – Skloot travels to Clover, Virginia to learn more about Henrietta and look for her grave. When she arrives there she finds a town that’s pretty much died the shops are abandoned. Skloot sees poverty and wreckage she drives up and down Lacks Town road. Eventually, she’s is stopped down by a 70-year-old man who’s Henrietta’s first cousin. His real name is Hector Henry but he got the nickname when he contracted polio as a child. He invites Skloot in and tells her that he has some information on Henrietta that she might like. What Skloot learns is that Henrietta was a sweetheart and everybody loved her. In this chapter, I am able to see that everybody loved her and that she was a very good human being. Then later in this chapter, there is a sign that some of her old family is there and it’s the old man which I can see that is a big help because he is able to give some info and that goes a long way.

Ch11 – IN this chapter Henrietta is getting so much medical attention it is getting worse and is going to die and then later in the chapter she goes to visit else and then all the hospital procedures stopped because they were too much. In this chapter I am able to see that she is going to die real soon and then I am able to see all the suffering and then, in my opinion, I would just try to put her down and end all the suffering.

Ch 12 – In this chapter, the doctors want to perform a biopsy and the only way that they could do that is if they got permission from the husband. Originally he said no but then when they went to visit the body he said yes due to the fact that they wanted to help them. Some of the husband requests were that they did not get any scarring on the chest. In this chapter, I am able to see that the Husband is very sad and he wants to help them out by consenting to the biopsy. Than Looking at is there is a lot of tension and with the tension, there are all kinds of problems that could flare up.

Ch13 – In this chapter, a factory was built to manufacture HeLa cells in bulk to help Dr. Jonas Salk test his polio vaccine. Salk had announced in 1952 that he made a vaccine for polio. But he needed cells to run operation study to make sure it was safe and effective before he made the vaccine available for children. Until now he was making it with cells from a monkey and it was too expensive to buy all the monkeys he’d need to run his studies. Gey and HeLa cells growing like mad in his lab at Hopkins and when he and a colleague from the NFI realized that HeLa cells were more inclined to the polio virus they wanted a lot of them. In this chapter, I am able to see that there was a larger amount of factories that were producing HeLa cells and that but the Cells could help make vaccines for polio and now seeing that there are only very few people with iron lungs that vaccine must have helped.

Ch14 – In this chapter, Lots of people knew Henrietta’s name but the first mention in the media contained a mistake. Nobody Get knew would own up to the mistake. Mostly this was because the docs at Hopkins didn’t really want the patient’s name revealed for a good reason because if they had there name revealed the patients family could be very upset and they legacy could possibly be ruined. In this chapter, I am able to see that there was a lot of mention in the media and the constant spread of her real name and that came because of the mistake and now looking back at this I am seeing there was a mistake and no one was owning up to it.

Ch15 – Skloot brings us back to the Lacks home right after Henrietta’s funeral. With all the inbound and outbound of relatives, some of the younger Lacks children came down with tuberculosis. Baby Joe nearly died from the illness who was only a year old. Lawrence had been drafted at somewhat less than 18 years old since he had a fake ID to get into the pool halls. Ethel had hated Henrietta and now took it out on her children. She starved them and made them work way too hard. She also beat them and Joe caught of her rage. In this chapter, I am learning that a lot of Henrietta’s family got sick and is starting to fall apart and then ethel was being very bad and beating them and that is how Joe is getting angry. Plus looking back at this it should have been reported.

Ch16 – Cliff tells her that nobody talked about Henrietta after her death especially because of a taboo about talking about cancer. Cliff takes Skloot to Henrietta’s burial place and the old home house where Henrietta grew up and started her family and at the moment it is completely destroyed. Cliff moved rocks to get to the cemetery has stones but not for everyone buried there because they used to mark the graves with a giant boulder if they didn’t have money for a proper stone. In this chapter, I am able to see that cliff is possibly one or someone that where Henrietta’s grave is and this chapter is one of the more bland ones.

Ch17 – HeLa was growing so much and Chester Southam a virologist at Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research started to wonder if HeLa cells could infect the scientists handling them. The Southam was injecting 12 cancer patients with HeLa cells and to his knowledge, they had more cancer on their arms. He did this to other patients and told them it was to test their immune systems. Southam finally hit a brick wall when 3 doctors, well aware of the experiments conducted by the Germans in ww2 refused to carry out his injection experiments. There were proponents on both sides of the argument some calling for Southam’s medical license to be revoked. In this chapter, I am able to see that one of the most famous virologists at the time had a theory that is the people working with the cells were getting sick and it was right. THen there was also a case where there were patients being injected to do tests and the tests were being placed with without the patient’s knowledge and then 3 Jewish doctors caught the lie and that is very good.

Ch18 – in 1960 the HeLa cells could be grown anywhere and you could be finding it online. Skloot tells us about some of the most exotic things that HeLa cells did in this time period they went into space in the Discoverer 18 satellite. A lot of the cells, in this case, were bad because in the labs the cells were being mislabeled and they would be complete chaos. Some people recommended that the experiments were conducted under a lot of pressure. Most of the time, this cell mating was controlled pretty well in the laboratory because scientists choose which cells to pair. Scientists Harris and Watkins combined HeLa cells with mouse cells and created an unlikely cell hybrid. In this chapter, I am able to see that the HeLa cells were growing out of control and they brought the first cells to space and that is very interesting that the pressure didn’t kill them. Then I can see that they were experimenting with the cells and they were making hybrids and that is very good.

Ch19 – Deborah got pregnant with her first child at 16. Bobbette told her she must finish school and she did. Baby bro Joe wasn’t so lucky. He couldn’t get control of his anger and he wound up spending most of his nine months of military service in confinement. When Joe got back home he was harassed at knifepoint by a guy named Ivy. Ivy eventually beat Joe to hell and then Joe stabbed Ivy to death that next day Joe pleaded guilty to murder 2 joe got a sentence of 15 years. In this chapter, I am able to see that Joe has PTSD and serious anger problems and then it has carried him to going into military then that trauma which is bad and should not have been introduced to people with serious anger problems.

Ch20 – The geneticist Stanley Gartler told his audience at the Conference on Cell and Organ that they had a huge problem. He discovered this when he was running an experiment with the most commonly used cell cultures and found that they were in African American people. So no matter how much scientists thought they were controlling contamination HeLa hitched a ride on anything and everything. Gartler also explained of the # contaminated lines came from the ATCC. In this, I think that it is very important in general to have all the information. And Stanley, in my opinion, has discovered that the cells were from an African American woman and they still thought it was good

Ch21 – A couple months after Sonny Lacks didn’t show up for their possible meeting in Baltimore. But now he is there and he tells Skloot she will have to win big brother Lawrence’s approval before any of the family including Deborah will talk to him about Henrietta. In this chapter, I am still able to see deception and that is because they didn’t show up at first because they had to get approval from Lawrence and that still shows that there is still some secrecy but there still should be because it is a name that is in danger.

Ch22 – George Gey learned that he had pancreatic cancer. It was his wish that the doctors operating on him to remove his tumor take a sample of the tissue so he is able to fulfill his path to also becoming immortal. But the surgeons found that the cancer was and didn’t want to kill Gey by cutting into his cancer. He still wanted to help science as much as possible, so Gey did an experimental chemo treatment. The treatments themselves nearly killed him. After He died, Howard Jones took another look at Henrietta’s biopsy and realized that her tumor was unfortunately misdiagnosed. Also in this chapter, Some scientists wanted to set the record straight concerning Henrietta’s identity because they felt she deserved recognition for her contribution to science because of some of the greatest contributions. In this chapter, I am able to see that guy knows he has cancer and his cancer is inoperable but they want him too also be immortal. Then I can see that there was misdiagnosing and that would explain why the cancer was growing so rapidly. I think that this chapter is very important to know because it shows how important it is to properly diagnose patients and due to the mistake many people got injured.

Ch23 – In 1973, Bobbette met a man who worked at the NCI. When he learned that her last name was Lacks he that he worked with cells from a woman named Henrietta Lacks. Bobbette thought this was strange Henrietta Lacks my her mother-in-law but she was already dead 21 years. Deborah really thought that Hsu was taking blood to find out if she had the same cancer that killed her mother. After reading about Chester Southam’s unethical injections of cancer cells into patients without their consent Deborah also believed that she and her sibs had been injected with cancer cells. In this chapter, I am able to see that Bobbette met a man that was working with the cancer cells of HeLa and he is discovering that there was more to what killed patients. THen in this, she also learns that you can but her mother’s cells and she isn’t happy with that and I would feel the same way.

Ch24 – After finding out Henrietta’s correct name Rogers looked up the Lacks family in the Baltimore phone book. Rogers was one of the most famous people at the time, then he also was finding out that he went to meet the son.in those times you could buy a vial of HeLa cells for only 256 dollars. In this chapter, I am able to see that you could buy a vial of cells for $256 and that is concerning because if you really think about it the cells they could have all kinds of problems and those wouldn’t be good.

Ch25 – In 1976 the same year Rogers published the article Moore found out that he had a rare case of leukemia. Golden had developed a cell line from Moore’s tissues without his knowledge or consent which more didn’t know about atm. Moore would need to fight Golde in court if he wanted to retain control of his own biological materials. Moore appealed and got a ruling in his favor. But then Golde appealed and won. In this chapter, I am able to see that there was a lot of anger and that they were not able to win the case where her mother’s cells were being sold off. What most concerns me in this is that even if you say no you still won’t win.

CH26 – Joe still had serious anger issues and can’t hold down a job. He wound up living on the street right outside his father’s door refusing shelter from him. Zakariyya participated in medical experiments at Hopkins for the money but gave up when he started getting scared infect him with AIDS. Meanwhile, Deborah got hold of a book about HeLa cells and her mother’s part in the story. In this chapter, I am concerned about the part where Joe is on the street and outside from his father’s house and he still won’t go in, but the most concerning thing are that he is he is selling himself and contracting diseases and that is bad so I feel bad for joe.

Ch27 – The mystery of Henrietta’s aggressive cancer is finally solved by a German virologist who discovered that HPV had a link to cervical cancer. Henrietta had been infected with HPV. In Henrietta’s case, the virus had inserted its DNA into a chromosome and turned off the gene that stops tumors. Which was why Howard Jones was still able to tell Skloot could never forget Henrietta’s cervical tumor it wasn’t different from anything he had seen. In this chapter, I am just thinking that there is a lot of new things coming out and there will be some odd things. But some of the things that I can see are the amount of DNA making and the is some things that we learned in the bio.

CH28 – Curtis writes about the production of the BBC documentary on Henrietta Lacks the one she watched in a beauty parlor. A man named(Pattillo) had felt a connection to Henrietta’s story from the first time he learned about her and always wanted to honor her contributions to science due to the fact that she donated so much. So he organized the first HeLa organizations in this chapter Deborah asked if DNA from the cells could be put into her eggs to bring Henrietta back to life. The doc said no, but Speed wanted to open a Henrietta Lacks Health History Museum and began to work on the project. Cofield was a major scam artist who spent his time filing frivolous lawsuits. The Lacks men were very happy about Cofield’s offer to help without charging them, so they hired him to represent them, Cofield wasn’t a doctor or a lawyer. In this chapter, I am able to see that Cofield is a fake and he is not even real and should be put down, but then I think that it is good that they are starting honor, Henrietta. The reason that it is good is that anyone who has saved many lives should always be honored.

Ch29 – Skloot goes to Clover, she leaves messages for her telling her she’s with her cousin Clifford in Henrietta’s tobacco fields hoping to get Deborah to pick up the phone. Deborah finally calls Skloot and gives her permission to tell the story. But she has to tell it right and make sure that the whole story of the family is told because if it is not good to dishonor someone when their family is alive. When Skloot sees Henrietta’s medical records lying on her bed with Deborah’s other papers, she makes the mistake of reaching for them. Deborah loses it. She isn’t ready to share those records. In this chapter, I am able to see that when Skloot is allowed to tell the story of Henrietta she has to say the entire story correctly and I think that is very true because when someone has passed and you want to tell their story every fact must be correct. then I am also able to see that to find the info you should always get to the past rather than the present.

Ch30 – Deborah takes Skloot to meet her brother Zakariyya. Skloot’s worried because she knows Zakariyya rep for anger and hatred. When Deborah and Skloot and Zakaria they are intimidated by Z. Later in the chapter, Zakariyya tells Skloot that he’s mean because of the HeLa cells. Zakaria is very angry because Deborah says that it was ethel that made me mad because of beating me up. In this chapter, I am able to see that Zakariyya is very mad because he thinks that he should be getting some money then he also thinks that it was the cells that makes him mad and that is a very good reason to be mad. I also think that it is a good idea that the family members should be together.

Ch31 – Deborah was told not to let anyone know where Henrietta’s buried due to the fact that they are scared that they may try to do something. She tells Skloot she will not talk anymore. But then she changes her mind. Also but later in this chapter, Deborah’s taking meds. Her son Devon feels he has to stay with her to keep her from acquiring self-inflicting injuries. In this chapter, I think that Deborah is starting to lose it and fall apart because she is starting to crumble thinking of her mom all day long and night even falling asleep during the time of her being on her computer. Then I am also able to see that Deborah is having a lot of super citizens.

Ch32 – At the beginning of the chapter Deborah, Zakariyya and Skloot head to Hopkins to meet for the HeLa cells. The man that works there lengauer) gives them a tour of the lab. Lengauer shows them the cells under the electron microscope.HeLa cells black when their mother was black? Lengauer explains that cells are colorless unless all are stained like in the picture he showed them. In this chapter, it is reminding me if biology because they are talking about labs and it reminds me of the hospital and then I can also able to learn more about cells and now it is making me interested to learn more.

Ch33 – The Hospital for the insane is no longer the facility it had been in Elsie’s time. Now it’s a multipurpose building. Most of the records from the 1950s have been lost. Paul Lurz was able to find Elsie’s biopsy report The file reveals that she probably died of internal bleeding from self-induced vomiting. There were scientific experiments done on the inmates there without the consent of the family. There were also two studies done on the brains of the patient and it seemed as if Elsie would have been a subject in both because of her epilepsy. In this chapter, I am able to see that there is also a lot of tension in this chapter and that Deborah is very happy only because she has learned some info on Elsie. But she is also very mad and it is ok for her to be mad because when she sees the pic of white women grabbing else’s throat and that is 100% ok because she is now seeing the trauma that she had.

Ch34 – Deborah decides to go through the same medical records with Skloot but she still has not calmed down from the horrifying time at the mental hospital. Deborah will not trust anyone and here being so agitated that she assaults Skloot, pushing her viciously to the wall. Deborah accuses her of working for someone with a motive to harm the family. In this chapter, I am able to see that Deborah is going through the record. I think that it is a good idea because she is able to not get very angry when she gets more info. So this chapter is very good at explaining the book and some good life facts.

Ch35 – The hives continue to spread as Deborah and Skloot get to Clover. Deborah takes Benadryl to control them, but it doesn’t seem to be working she had taken ? of the bottle. They also visit Gladys Henrietta’s sister. When she talks about Henrietta and Elsie her face gets pink and she seems to be having a panic attack. In this chapter, I am able to see that Deborah is finally becoming normal and then when they go to visit Henrietta’s sister it would be good to because in my opinion when people make relations with family members it will make each other strong. So this chapter has been very important for me because I am able to see that connection.

Ch36 – Deborah goes home to get her hives looked at. Skloot stays on in Clover to talk with Gary about the god-like encounter from the previous evening. Gary talks to her about the immortal life that God could possibly give her, a bible verse to read out loud. Skloot makes the connection between the bible verses and Henrietta’s sister Deborah reaction to seeing Henrietta in her vision. In this chapter, I am able to see that there relating everything to god and him making their mother immortal and that would be a very good reason for it but in my opinion in neutral for this topic.

Ch37 – It turns out that Deborah isn’t just suffering from hives. She has extremely HBP and HBS. She has almost had a stroke from the stress of learning about her sister Elsie’s life and death at the mental hospital. Deborah’s also supposed to give a speech at the NFCR conference. But Deborah doesn’t seem to be able to avoid stress since she keeps thinking of things that are very stressful. She’s decided to go back to school A few days later, Deborah has a stroke at church. In this chapter I am able to see besides the fact that 9/11 happened, I am able to see that Deborah is getting much worse and then she had a stroke which was gonna kill her and then in this chapter it is very hard to see that is she didn’t do much of stress and I am able to relate to this because I have a lot of stress every day.

Ch38 – Skloot returns to Clover and realizes that the town is gone. Nothing’s left except the post office Cousin Gary who had prayed with Deborah after the mental hospital has died of a heart attack. Then cousins Fred, Cootie, and Day die. Deborah is very sad by all these losses. Deborah’s brother Sonny has to have a bypass and winds up having a lot to pay back form the surgery. Zakariyya continues to get into trouble, and Deborah herself leaves her husband James. In this chapter, I am able to see that there were any deaths around the lacks family and then the town of clover is gone so all of them are gone so in this chapter I felt bad for all the family members so this is the end of the book and one of the harder chapters. Reflection: The book the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks has taught me a lot of how people lived back then. The book also has shown me that there were many problems with the field of medicine there were back then in the 1950s-2000s. Some of the important things that I have learned are that the relations between family are very important because when I was reading the book I kept seeing that Joe didn’t have the best relation with any of his family members and due to that his whole family is becoming out of sorts. Some of the other things that I learned are that you should always be persistent with whatever you need to have done because when you keep going after something and you fail the first time but you get back up and keep trying it again you will eventually get to where you want to be. When I read the book I am thinking now how bad life was back then, and thinking of how much they helped science and they were not truly recognized for what they did and now looking at a man who did something pointless and they got weeks worth of news but someone who changed the way people look at science there the ones who should be recognized.Then throughout the book, it has changed my perspective on how I look at things and I’m going to try to improve myself by adjusting the actions that I normally do. Then the last thing that I am going to say is when anyone says something to you-you should always do what you want and to be who you are and not what society wants you to be and that’s it thank you.

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Review Of A Book About Henrietta Lacks. (2020, Mar 23). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from
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