March 6, 2015 Doing the “Right” Thing Throughout the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
, people are either doing the “right” thing or the “wrong” thing. Henrietta Lacks was a africanamerican women who suffered from cervical cancer in the 1950s. She also suffered from racism and segregation. The doctors in the 1950s were not as knowledgeable as the doctors now. They did not have the proper advanced equipment or the research that we have today. In part one we see a lot of these issues.
Despite all the wrong, there is a mass amount of “right” that doctors and others show in part one. Day, Henrietta’s Husband, brought her to John Hopkins hospital to do an treatment on February 6, 1951. As soon as she got there, she went straight to the admissions desk and signed a form that has OPERATION PERMIT on the top. It then read: “I hereby give consent to the staff of The John Hopkins Hospital to perform any operative procedures and under any anaesthetic either local or general that they may deem necessary in the proper surgical care and treatment of:___________” (pg.31).
She then signed her name in the blank space and then a witness signed a line at the
bottom of the permit. By her signing the permit, she was giving her consent to operate.
Bingham 2 consent that would make the operation illegal. This would be a law. Today, hospitals do the same thing.
Rebecca Skloot, the author of the book
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, went through Turners Station to the public library where she met Courtney Speed.
Courtney Speed had some information on Henrietta Lacks. While Rebecca was driving around town people were talking about “Cofield.” Rebecca later asked Mrs. Speed about Who Cofield was. Mrs. Speed refused to give up any information without the permission of Henrietta’s Family. This was the right thing to do because this is private information. Giving that information to someone that she barely knows could affect her family forever if it is given to the wrong person. This could be a characteristic and it could also be something else. Its your choice to make the right thing. Mrs. Speed chose to do the right thing.
Though the doctors did the right thing some of the time, they did a lot of wrong as well. After Henrietta’s first treatment, they took some of her cells. Although Lacks gave them her permission to operate, they did not tell her what they took from her. They didn’t tell her what they did. Her cells are part of her body; part of “property.” They stole her cells. What they should’ve done was inform her of what would be happening to her.
They should’ve told her the procedure. They could’ve written another permission form asking to take a few of the