Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks - Written by Rebecca Skloot - I liked this book

The beginning of the book was very interesting.  I was really involved in seeing where it was going.  After the death of Henrietta, when the family was dealing with people wanting to get more information or write about her, when they were explaining scientific tests done with her cells and how they reacted, or how they invaded other results and costs some scientists millions of dollars, all of that slowed down for me and I was struggling to stay with the book. I believe this book made into a movie, would be easier to watch the movie rather than reading the book.  I found when I just felt I couldn’t hang in there any longer, the book ended.
 It is a bit fascinating how they collected tissues and cells from people and didn’t get their permission and used those cells, etc. for years afterward, sometimes proving scientific methods that they could patent and make much money from.  The person whose cells were used, or their family never received a penny from the tests and the results that were all due to having the HELA cells.
There was a lot of paranoia in the “colored” community near John’s Hopkins Hospital, that they pulled people off the street in order to do tests on them.  They thought that people were kidnapped and never appeared again it had to be that the hospital was taking them, not that they had passed away or just moved away.
I do really want to see the movie that Oprah starred in.

I received this book from the people at Read It Forward:
Here is the description as found on Good Reads:

Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons. 

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.