Culture Change

I enjoyed how the book was an easy read.  It was written more like a novel than just a book with information.  However one part of the book that I enjoyed even more than the plot is being able to see how much our culture has changed.

I remember reading part of the book where the author was talking about how doctors and scientists operated.  It’s amazing to see how much the bioethics and procedures have changed from then.  When scientists were wondering if HeLa cells could be dangerous around people I could not believe how they decided to test it.

First of all I cannot believe they tested it on humans without the people knowing about it.  The one doctor just told the patients that he was testing their immune system.  Wow, if someone did that today, the doctor would be sued for everything he owned.  Just because the people are already sick doesn’t mean that it’s ok to test potentially deadly cells on them.

Another thing that was extremely disturbing is when the scientists tested the HeLa Cells on people that were not diagnosed with any disease.  Prison inmates volunteered to be in experimental studies with the HeLa cells.  Even people who are volunteering to be tested, if they die, is that considered murder by the scientist?

With regards to human testing it is interesting to see how much our culture has changed.  Today doctors and scientists test drugs on animals, such as lab rats.  Groups like PETA are speaking out about it too, saying that it is ethically wrong.  Back when testing was done on people, it was the norm.  It is extremely shocking to see how much our culture has changed by reading about all these different practices and then observing how things are done now a day.

This book has not only opened my eyes to Henrietta Lacks, but has opened my eyes to our culture.  If we have changed this much within about 50 years, imagine what things will be like in 50 years to come!  People did not know how to handle things back then and with our generation being information based and technology based, I wonder how that will impact cultural change in the future.

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