Rebecca Skloot’s story, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, is based on Henrietta and her family. In order to learn about the indescribable Henrietta Lacks, Skloot as a result, wrote this biography on her. Skloot wanted to further her study about the Lacks family in relation to their health, personal life, and ethnic concerns associated to the story. Henrietta and her family’s knowledge about her cells and how they were being used was the main issue. Human rights that people had/have about their bodies and how they are used in medical research becomes the stories moral question.
Also in questioning is race. As stated in the book, “There’s no way of knowing how Henrietta’s treatment would have differed if she’d been white. According to Howard Jones, Henrietta got the same care any white patient would have; the biopsy, the radium treatment, and radiation were all standard for the day” (Skloot, 64). There is a slight possibility that if she had been white she may have acquired some acknowledgement, at that moment or later, for the impact of her cells that were delivered for further study on cancer.
Since this was in the 1950s, “The era of Jim Crow,” there were different outlooks of ethnicity than what there are today (Skloot, 15). Christoph stated in the book, “When you find oil on somebody’s property, it doesn’t automatically belong to them, but they do get a portion of the profits” (Skloot, 267). Awareness that people should have on different parts of their body, and how their body parts are being used around the globe for further research is also argued in the book.
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