Henrietta Lacks. Wow.

I think everyone should read this book.  It’s health care, medical research, racism, privacy, life saving discoveries, class inequalities and a compelling story!

Laboratory animals had rights back in 1910, but humans weren’t considered until Nuremberg.  And even then it wasn’t law, just recommendation.  Wow.  Henrietta’s family couldn’t begin to grasp what it meant that their mother’s cells were immortal.  Was she in pain?  Was the cancer still alive?  What’s a cell?  Wow.  Informed consent wasn’t recognized in the medical research world until after 1971.  Drawing blood was considered a non-risk to the patient.  Wow.

It’s such a tragic story of Henrietta’s kids and her widower husband, but you can’t help but get excited over the huge advances made in medicine all because Henrietta’s cancer cells reproduced in culture at a prolific rate.  One woman, one hard-working black woman, one mother of four who died young of cervical cancer.  Yet her cells live on.

You must read this book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.


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