January 15, 2024

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

January 15, 2024

This is the story of Henrietta Lacks, a black American woman whose cells radically changed medicine. In 1951, Henrietta’s cervical cells were taken without her knowledge or consent, and then discovered as the world’s first immortal human cell line, called ‘HeLa’. Henrietta’s cells are regarded as a scientific breakthrough which has changed the face of medicine, and HeLa are still very much in use today. The story of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot exposes the impact of this sampling and consequent discovery on Henrietta’s family-impoverished black Americans despite HeLa cells’ profit to the biomedical industry-and as well discusses the ethical issues surrounding cell research and the scientific advancements made possible by HeLa. While this is a relevant understanding for medical history, Henrietta’s story has important implications for nursing, including the ethics of healthcare research, the importance of patient education, and the critical nature of cultural sensitivity in our work.

Read it here

Nursing The Future™ acknowledges that nurses across this country live, work and play on the lands of our Indigenous Ancestors and we join our members in expressing respectful gratitude for this privilege.
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