This is an awkward question because what the Scientific Method is and what the scientific community does are two very different things. The steps of the Scientific Method are:
- Ask a Question
- Do Background Research
- Construct a Hypothesis
- Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
- Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
- Communicate Your Results (sciencebuddies.org)
What was done in the 1950s relating to Henrietta Lacks' "immortal" cells was a question of scientific ethics--and was not very ethical--in a simpler society when questions of patient/donor/subject ethics had not been addressed. I don't mean "simpler" as having less need for ethical guidelines; I mean "simpler" in terms of less research and fewer regulatory guidelines.
Today, there are guidelines in place that require informed consent from the patient/donor/subject themselves or from a legally qualified surviving family member. So, in brief, what Dr. Gey did at John Hopkins in 1951, through the action of Mrs. Lacks' surgeon, could never be done today. Taking a portion of a biopsy and "sending it down the hall" to a research department so a scientific researcher could try again to create a successful line of self-reproducing cells could never legally happen today because scientific and medical ethics and regulatory laws prohibit all of those at every step of their progress.
The HeLa story, broken by journalist Rebecca Skloot and Mrs. Lacks' daughter Deborah, reflects the changes in ethical practice and regulation that have taken place since the 1950s. Bear in mind, Lacks' situation was not the only gross violation of ethical and moral behavior among scientific and medical researchers that occurred in the 1950s. Many cases of non-consenting medical experimentation from that period of time have come into public knowledge.