The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot al Affiliation The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a very fascinating story that brings into the limelight how oppressive the society can be to the poor and the underprivileged. The entire story revolves around issues related to gender, class, race and medical ethics. Skloot tells of a painful story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African-American tobacco farmer who died of cancer after fighting with the disease for a long time. However, before her death, doctors removed a cancer cell from her body without her knowledge, which they later used to conduct research on how to treat a variety of diseases. The author tells how the researchers managed to discover a number of vaccines that they used to treat different diseases including polio, cancer, and other chronic diseases. In fact, the researchers are making billions of dollars from the sale of the vaccines. Nevertheless, even as the scientists make billions of dollars from the research, they do not inform Lacks that the cancer cell used in the research was taken from her body. Neither do they inform her that it is because of the cell taken from her that they are making billions of dollars. In fact, the researchers kept the secrecy of the origin of the cancer cell by adopting the name "Hela" to ensure that the poor Lacks does not know that it was her cancer cell. Finally, Lacks dies of cancer for lack of enough money to receive medical attention. In this regard, Skloot is trying to tell readers how merciless and unjust the society can be (Skloot, 2011).
Ethically, the scientists would be expected to obtain the informed consent of Lacks before going ahead to use her cancer cell in the research. Additionally, morally speaking, the researchers would be expected to use the money derived from the sale of the vaccines and drugs to help Lacks manage her health condition. Unfortunately, because the researchers are greedy and selfish, their main interest is to benefit from the business by making billions of dollars.
The issue of gender also comes in as the researchers appear to ignore Lacks merely because she is a poor woman without a voice. In this regard, they knew that Lacks would not to do anything about her cell because she is not only poor, but also a woman. Additionally, the issue of race comes into focus as all the researchers who use Lacks cancer cell without permission are whites while Lacks is an African American woman (Skloot, 2011).
Skloot, R. (2011). The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. New York, NY: Pan Macmillan.