We've read the first four chapters. We've learned about Henrietta's childhood and a bit about her life as an adult. We've learned about the struggles doctors had with diagnosing and treating cervical cancer and we've learned about George Gey's work in trying to find and grow immortal human cells.
Here's what I took away from it. What a short and difficult life Henrietta Lacks had! She lost her mother, got shipped off to her grandfather's, had her first baby at age 14, and married her cousin who then cheated on her all the time. Yikes. Even getting beyond the fact that she married into her own bloodline, I couldn't get over how incestuous their relationship was considering they had essentially grown up as brother and sister since they were children. It seems like she felt she had no other choice.
How do you feel about the fact that the patients who were receiving free health care were being harvested for samples without their consent? In some ways it seems like a small price to pay, but it really struck me that the author described the samples taken from Lacks as "dime sized." That is not a small sample. It could cause scarring and further problems down the road and it was done as a matter of course and without permission.
Another thing I found interesting was how instrumental Margaret was in helping George culture cells. Nowadays, even to a layman, growing such fragile cells in a sterile environment makes total sense. It's hard to imagine that as recently as the fifties, this was not normal procedure. I thought it was awesome that Margaret's experience as a nurse helped her teach George about sterilization and how he DIY'ed most of his lab equipment. They were truly pioneers.