Book Review on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Book Review on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Because the final question in the set is lengthy and it requires more effort and writing, it is worth the equivalent contribution of three questions. 

  1. What does this book tell us about the history of science and how science has progressed since the 1950s? After reading this book and considering the events it details, what do you think are key factors that influence scientific progress?

 

  1. Ownership of genetic material is still a vexed issue. Many human genes have been patented and a battle is currently being fought through the U.S. courts between doctors and a biotech company owning the patents for genes used in breast cancer research screening. What are your thoughts about research and patents in this now “profit making” industry? Is there an ethical way to create a finance structure for medical advancement that honors human contribution?

 

  1. Making health care affordable to all Americans is an obvious concern for health services managers and public health providers.  What does the story of Henrietta Lacks and her family add to this discussion? How do you feel about the potential consequences of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being dismantled?  How could we improve the program?  What is critical to keep from the program?  How will we finance the most popular elements of the program (such as no pre-existing conditions exclusions and coverage for children to age 26) without requiring a larger, younger, healthier risk pool?