Thursday, January 13, 2011
Books: How I love books
I am currently listening to "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. It was recommended by a reader at work, she and I like the same type books.(We both loved 'The Help').
This book happens to be an autobiography about a poor 'colored' woman. (directly from the book, not MY words) She died in 1951 at the age of 30 from cervical cancer. Her tumor cells were the first ever to be grown outside the body in a laboratory, allowing clinical advances in the treatment of cervical cancer, aids, polio and countless other diseases or anomolies. Her cells continue to live today in labs all over the world, she's been dead 60 years!
The story is interesting because the patient was not included in the decision to donate her cells, due to unscrupulous handling of her health information her name became public in connection to those cells called HeLa cells. This is where it gets convoluted.
Her family was in shock and disbelief when they learned. I urge you to get this book and read it, then if you are able to make a donation to the Henrietta Lacks foundation.
It has sparked a great deal of discussion on ethics, HIPPA, medical insurance, research, etc. If you belong to a book club this might be a great book for discussion.