Legal Age

In: English and Literature

Submitted By blue42
Words 684
Pages 3
How did Henrietta’s status influence her treatment for cancer? Henrietta Lacks was a poor African American tobacco farmer from Clover, Virginia; she marries her cousin David “Day” Lacks and five beautiful children, the family moves to Baltimore, Maryland for a better life. Later Henrietta would be diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age 29-years-old; however she would pass away at 31-years-old. Henrietta’s treatment for cancer was affected due to her race. Blacks living in the south weren’t considered equals to whites; this was the Jim Crow. “When black people showed up at white-only hospitals, the staff was likely to send them away, even if it meant they might die in the parking lot.” (Skloot 15) Consequently this racist behavior was practiced at Johns Hopkins hospital. They had separate entranceways for black and white patients and also separate wards, drinking fountains. “Even Hopkins, which did treat black patient, segregated them in colored wards, and had colored-only fountains.”(Skloot 15) Doctors at Hopkins hospital perceived her and other blacks as inferior and just mere subjects for their experiments. “In 1969, a Hopkins researcher used blood samples from more then 7,000 neighborhood children-most from poor black families- to look for genetic predisposition to criminal behavior. The researcher didn’t get consent.”(Skloot 167) Doctors didn’t put forth the same effort for black patients as they would for white patients. Because of Henrietta’s race, she wasn’t allowed to question her doctors. “This was 1951 in Baltimore, segregation was law, and it was understood that black people didn’t question white people’s professional judgment.”(Skloot) Henrietta was not involved in the decision making toward her cancer treatment. “But several studies have shown that black patients were treated and hospitalized at later stages of their illnesses…...

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