Sexuality Issues in Healthcare

In his work, Simkim (1998) argues that lesbians receive inappropriate healthcare since most of the physicians make incorrect assumptions about them. He concludes by proposing that physicians should broaden their awareness of lesbians. Rondahl (2009) reveals a biased attitude towards LGBTs by nurses. Hence, LGBTs receive inadequate care compared to their heterosexual counterparts.  If nurses collaborate with other disciplines, the discrimination of the LGBT population may be lessened. For instance, they should collaborate with psychologists, social workers, and other human service workers who seem to understand the LGBT populations in offering optimal patient care.

Sexual fluidity refers to the sexual functioning of an individual where they can enjoy sexual acts with either a male or a female (Charles Blow, 2015). After some time, they may then discover a masculine type that sexually excites them and engage in sexual acts with them. After exploring Blow’s (2015) article, his main point is that people should not be judged because of their sexual fluidity and that one has the freedom to love whomever they want without giving the world an explanation.

Henrietta Lacks Chapter 17-28 Summary

In chapter 17-28 of the Immortal Life of Lacks book, the reader learns about the use of Henrietta’s cells without her or his family’s consent.

Chapter 17, “Illegal, Immoral, and Deplorable,” Skloot notifies the reader that HeLa cells were used in two ways noble and ignoble. The virologists (Cher Southam) injected the cells to cancer patients to examine whether they would contract cervical cancer. Unfortunately, he never told the patients he was infusing them with cancerous cells but lied that he was testing their immune system. The patients developed tumors, and the researcher had to remove the cells from some. However, he left cells in some patients to study them. The chapter notifies the reader that the action was against the Nuremberg Code that recommends informed consent and avoiding harming patients. 


Chapter 18, “Strangest Hybrid,” records a period where everything about cell culturing techniques was going wrong. Researchers observed various types of cells becoming cancerous and concluded that HeLa cells were infecting them. The chapter also records how this discovery provoked the “Fort Knox of pure, uncontaminated cell culture.” 

Chapter 19, “The Most Critical Time on This Earth Is Now,” records a scenario where Lacks becomes pregnant by Cheetah. Afterward, the boyfriend became violent. Lacks gets stressed up and plans to quit school and take care of her pregnancy, which Bobbette disagrees with. When she turns 18, she marries Cheetah, who abuses drugs and substances. Later, the chapter records that Cheetah starts to abuse her extensively. Deborah resorts on revenge by killing him; however, Zakariyya convinces her not to.

Chapter 20, “The HeLa Bomb, explores a period in which HeLa cells are already known to contaminate human cells. Stanley Gartler, a geneticist, did a study and found that HeLa cells’ G6PD-A exist in black Americans where they contaminate other human cell lines. Some of such cell lines are from whites but have HeLa cells’ genetic marker. Despite some scientists ignoring research and working with contaminated cells, others create genetic tests to examine HeLa cells.

Chapter 21, “Night Doctors” records a time where Sonny Lacks met Skloot. Lacks wants to be introduced to Lawrence, who is to decide which siblings she should contact. Lawrence appears in the kitchen cooking pork chops that Skloot has not eaten for years, and they engage in a lengthy talk. The chapter also notes that Sonny and Lawrence are angry that their family has a cell issue. Unfortunately, the idea that Henrietta donated her cells is a myth since they took them without her consent.

Chapter 22, “The Fame She So Richly Deserves,” Gey is also diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas and decides to start a cell line. However, he dies after a few months. In writing an article on HeLa cells to honor Gey, Howard Jones notes that a misdiagnosis happened when Henrietta’s tumor was being examined.

Chapter 23, “It’s alive,” after learning that the HeLa cells were from her mother, Bobbette becomes furious. The chapter also introduces a period where scientists looked forward to mapping HeLa cells through DNA tests. Since informed consent is not law yet, the tests are taken without the family consent. Deborah wants the results, and on request for the family’s test results for the second time, Deborah gets a genetic textbook from John Hopkins staff McKusick and cannot understand a thing. The chapter concludes that the book given to Deborah had Henrietta photograph, which was not shared by any family member.

Chapter 24, “Least They Can Do” records an occurrence where Rogers goes to interview Henrietta’s family. On interrogating them, Rogers realizes that the family never knew why doctors tested them. Later, Sonny and Lawrence start arguing that Gey and John Hopkins had made money out of their mother’s cells, which was never the case.

Chapter 25, “Who Told You You Could Sell My Spleen?” Skloot learns about people fighting to keep their cells and tissues, including John Moore, who even sued Gold and UCLA for misusing his cells. On analyzing Lacks family case, it is noted that they never heard Moore’s case but remained convinced that John Hopkins bilked them millions of dollars.

Chapter 26, “Breach of Privacy,” Deborah remarries Pullum and later learns that she can get Henrietta’s medical files since she could have been the next of kin. After reading a book by Gold on HeLa contamination, she realizes that some people have access to Henrietta’s record.

Chapter 27, “The Secret of Immortality,” Skloot is explaining a narrative where researchers found that while other cells die, HeLa cells live. Herald realizes that Henrietta cells have HPV-18 copies. The chapter concludes by differentiating healthy and cancer cells where normal cells are said to have a Hayflick limit.

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Chapter 28, “After London,” records a point where Skloot examines the Henrietta BBC documentary making. In 1996, the BBC producer came to America to interview the Lacks family. The chapter also narrates how Courtney and Barbara started raising money to have Henrietta Lacks museum without the family’s knowledge. The author concludes by narrating how John Hopkins backed off and refused to honor Henrietta despite using her cells for research. On learning this, Deborah fell into depression.


Blow, C. (2015). Opinion Sexual Attraction and Fluidity. The New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2020, from

Rondahl, G. (2008). Lesbians’ and Gay Men’s Narratives about Attitudes in Nursing. Scand J Caring Sci, 23; 146-152.

Simkim, R, J. (1998). Not all your Patients are Straight. Canadian Medical Association, 159(4), 370-376.

Skloot, R. (2010). Chapters 17-28. In The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Crown.