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Henrietta’s Headstone Dedication

There are a number of smaller moments in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” that resonate for people as much as the larger issues of body and tissue ownership, the ethics of informed consent, and the protocols for human subject research. One of those more intimate concerns was that Henrietta had an unmarked grave site. That concern has been alleviated by a headstone provided by a Morehouse School of Medicine donation from Dr. Roland Pattillo and his wife, Pat. Dr. Pattillo is the ob/gyn physician-scientist who Skloot portrays as a guardian of the Lacks family and who provided contacts to Skloot after she convinced him of her sincerity in telling the story of the family and Henrietta. Read the entire story here:

Were there other details in the book that resonated for you as you got to know Henrietta Lacks and her family? How does such a journalistic treatment differ from a historical treatment?

One thought on “Henrietta’s Headstone Dedication

  1. The side story of Elise, Henrietta's oldest child, brings up another intresting ethical question, about obtaining informed consent from the mentally ill population. Especially for any research purposes. I know we have stricter regulations and guidelines now. Reading of the treatment of overcrowding in Elise's generation was appalling to me.
    This book also helped me see that it was not that long ago that seregation was an accepted practice, and now understand some of the suspicion of medical care we give.