Public Hospital Biology Discussion
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The book: https://u1lib.org/book/2203074/d66daa
* please be sure to do the work correctly because it is very important thank you
Some questions to help you get started; feel free to discuss anything from the book that interested you!!
Have you tried to explain science to people with no science education? How do you approach this challenge? How do you prevent the kinds of misconceptions that Henrietta’s family were left with?
The first mention of Henrietta Lacks’ family says that they refused to give a postmortem sample of her tissues and were angry about not receiving any financial compensation. Did this surprise you, given that the introduction discusses how important these cells have been?
Why did so few books correctly name Henrietta Lacks? Why did they try to include her name and information?
The articles in Ebony and Jet found by Rebecca Skloot said that the Lacks family had only recently learned that her cells were still alive, 25 years after Henrietta’s death. They then understood that she was being studied, but not why. How do you think these experiences contributed to the family’s outlook on medicine and science?
Why did David Lacks take Henrietta to the public wards at Johns Hopkins instead of a closer hospital?
What did Henrietta’s first doctor assume the source of the lump on her cervix was? What bias did this show?
Based on Henrietta’s medical history, what can you infer about her life and personality? How would you describe her feelings about doctors?
What are the connotations of the term “home-house?” What does this term suggest about the values of the Lacks family?
Compare the medical terms describing Elsie’s condition with the terms used by Henrietta’s friends and family. What are the connotations of the two sets of terms?
How did doctors justify using patients in public hospital wards as medical research subjects without obtaining their consent or offering them financial compensation? Do you agree or disagree with their reasoning?
Analyze the consent statement that Henrietta signed (p. 31). Based on this statement, do you believe TeLinde and Gey had the right to obtain a sample from her cervix to use in their research?
Do you think Henrietta would have given explicit consent to have a tissue sample used in medical research if she had been asked? Do you think she would have understood what was being asked of her? Explain your answers.
How informed should consent be? The standard is to write consent forms at a fourth grade reading level. Do you think that level is correct and appropriate? Why?
Were cells taken only from black patients? Were black patients generally treated differently from white patients in the early 1950s?
Gey chose to give away samples of HeLa to his colleagues almost immediately. Do you think this was a good decision?
What is the implication of the author’s decision to use the term “birth” to describe the initial growth of HeLa cells?
Why did Henrietta and Day decide to place Elsie in the Hospital for the Negro Insane?
Why do you think Henrietta initially chose not to tell people about her cancer diagnosis? What does this decision suggest about Henrietta’s personality?
What important information did Henrietta’s doctor fail to give her before starting her cancer treatment? How did she react when this information was eventually shared with her?
What do the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the Mississippi Appendectomies suggest about the history of African Americans and medicine?
What questions does Deborah have about her mother?
Give an example of propaganda that was used to fuel the public’s fear and distrust of tissue culture.
What details suggest that Carrel’s claims about the immortal cell line were not scientifically sound?
How did Henrietta’s doctors react to her intuitive conviction that the cancer was spreading inside her?
What does the use of the term “miserable specimen” by Henrietta’s doctors reveal about their attitude toward her?
Do you think Gey really met with Henrietta? Why?
Compare and contrast the Turner Station that Skloot visited in 1999 with the Turner Station that Henrietta experienced as a young woman.
Cootie seems to know and understand a little bit about HeLa cells, but he believes that Henrietta’s spirit is still present in her cells. What does Cootie think about the reason that HeLa cells were used to develop a polio vaccine?
Why did doctors stop giving Henrietta blood transfusions? What did Henrietta’s friends and family do when they found out that she needed blood? Why do you think they were willing to sacrifice to help her?
What was Henrietta’s final request, and what does that tell you about her?
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