The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Questions and Answers
by Rebecca Skloot

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What was the main point of chapters 12–22 from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks?

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Chapters 12–22 are in "Part Two: Death," the second of the three sections of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

These chapters talk about what happened after Henrietta died. There's a discussion of her autopsy and how the assistant realized that Henrietta was a real person—not merely the mother of the HeLa cells—for the first time during it. However, Henrietta herself was gone and the HeLa cells were going into extensive production. They were being mass-produced in laboratories already.

Even though Gey had tried to restrict how the cells could be used, his efforts didn't yield results. Instead, the cells were being grown and sold for a profit in only a few years. They were being used in many studies. They were so common that people became interested in the person behind the cells and wanted to know who she was. Since medical confidentiality wasn't law at the time, Henrietta was eventually revealed as the source of the HeLa cells.

While HeLa cells were making a profit and helping...

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