A Reflection Paper of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
In the of our learning period, we covered The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It is such an interesting book to read, not only for those in the medical field but any other reader for enjoyment purposes. The book is about tissue culture and revolves around Henrietta, who was an uninformed donor of the first immortal human cell line. Several aspects concerning tissue culture are covered in the book, and it is in this reflection paper that we will find out more.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an interesting book, and this can be attributed to the outstanding skills Skloot used in her narration. The manner in which she gives details of the happenings in the books enables the reader to have a feeling of intimacy with the characters in the play. She is also able to create an emotional connection with the reader, one can for instance feel the much excitement that Deborah feels on the research done on her mother; and intense anger as her sons experience the same. We can equally have a feel of the emotional connection that Skloot maintains throughout the book with the family of Henrietta. Skloots ability to also explain the science behind tissue culture in a way that is very easy to understand, makes it easy for any other person outside the science field to understand easily.
The fact that she got diagnosed with turner syndrome at the age of 15 and that she has been in the hands of researchers for thorough studying till the age of 41 was quite a moment. It reminded me so much about my aunt who equally got diagnosed with the same and had to make occasional trips to the hospital. It was a moving moment for our family and can relate it to what Henrietta had to go through from such a tender age. Her hormones had to get changed, and the doctor also realized the problem with her ovaries that could not serve their function; however, the diagnosis worked miracles and brought a big change to her life.
It is what my aunt went through that pushed me towards the study of tissue cultures. However, I had never got lucky enough to discover the history of tissue cultures, till I read the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Her talking of the history of tissue cultures along with the discoveries made on Henriettas cancer cells for use in science. Skloot also teaches that humans should be ethical or have a human heart when carrying out tissue culture; something I had never had the opportunity to discover. The book has been of much help to me as far as my previous studies on tissue culture are concerned.
The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks has taught me that racism is not a thing to be practiced amongst ourselves. She was a black woman who the doctors took advantage of and her cells used with no consent. It is the polio vaccines that all of us must go through whether white or black, in our childhood days that carry part of Henrietta. All of us are, therefore, equal, no one is superior, and that is what we should embrace.
Henrietta is a black woman, who despite her greatest contribution to the modern medicine, never benefited a thing, let alone being asked for permission to have her cells used for research in medical laboratories. Her family even after her death has never had the opportunity to enjoy their mothers contribution, but instead continued to live in poverty despite the pain she underwent. According to the ethical considerations as per Skloot, it is upon the individual to decide whether her cells can be used for research or not, and if so they should benefit in return. It is an interesting book that one can never put down once they have started reading.