The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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The head of tissue culture research at Johns Hopkins, George Gey is the scientist responsible for growing HeLa into the first immortal human cell line. Having worked his way up from nothing, Gey is incredibly generous with his discovery, believing it to be his duty to share it with the rest of the scientific community. Although the Lackses believe that Gey used their mother for profit, it is unlikely that he made much if any money off of his innovation.
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Dr. George Gey Character Timeline in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. George Gey appears in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Diagnosis and Treatment
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For tissue samples, TeLinde went to George Gey, Hopkins’ head of tissue culture research. Along with his wife Margaret Gey, George Gey had... (full context)
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...seems in “good condition,” and says that he has given her tissue to Dr. George Gey. (full context)
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Henrietta’s tissue samples travel to George Gey, who greets them eagerly. His assistants, however, believe that the samples will fail and die... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Birth of HeLa
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George Gey’s assistant, a young woman named Mary Kubicek, is eating. The lab around her is filled... (full context)
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...know what exactly cells needed to survive, or how to supply them with those nutrients. Gey, with his wife Margaret Gey, has been trying for years to develop the perfect “culture... (full context)
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...from people’s hands, breath, or from dust particles in the air. As a result Margaret Gey, trained as a surgical nurse, has become obsessed with cleanliness. She has even hired a... (full context)
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The author gives us background on George Gey: he was raised in Pittsburgh, where his family lived in poverty. After paying his way... (full context)
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The most important innovation George Gey had discovered at the time was called the “roller-tube culturing technique,” in which he uses... (full context)
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...sure that the cells will die soon; instead, they double in size every morning. George Gey remains cautious, telling Mary that the cells could die at any time. Instead, the abnormal... (full context)
Chapter 6: “Lady’s on the Phone”
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...Pattillo created the symposium—he is one of the few African Americans who studied with George Gey.When Rebecca calls Pattillo, he tells her that Henrietta’s family will never speak to her. Rebecca,... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Death and Life of Cell Culture
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We flash back to April 1951, where George Gey appears on a TV show in Baltimore. Polite and handsome, he is introduced as a... (full context)
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George Gey begins sending Henrietta’s cells out to a variety of scientists who want to use them... (full context)
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Although HeLa is spreading, Gey doesn’t mention Henrietta or her cells in the press, so the general public doesn’t learn... (full context)
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...the culture with new cells every few days. Because of this, by 1951, when George Gey begins growing Henrietta’s cells, the idea of immortal cells is thought of as distasteful, even... (full context)
Chapter 8: A Miserable Specimen
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...vial marked “colored” in case Henrietta needs a transfusion later. On the orders of George Gey, a doctor takes more cells from her cervix. Her body is polluted with toxins that... (full context)
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“There is no record” that George Gey visited Henrietta in the hospital or talked to her about her cells. Yet one of... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Storm
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Although there’s no obituary for Henrietta, the Gey lab hears news of her death quickly. Her body is put in the “colored” freezer,... (full context)
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Mary Kubicek is deputized to collect tissue for George Gey at the autopsy. The pathologist samples from almost every organ in Henrietta’sbody, as well as... (full context)
Chapter 13: The HeLa Factory
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The NFIP turns to cell culture experts—including George Gey—to help find these cells. Gey recognizes how valuable an opportunity this is, as the NFIP... (full context)
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In April 1952, George Gey and a colleague from the NFIP advisory committee named William Scherer try infecting Henrietta’s cells... (full context)
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George Gey knows that if he is going to be mass-producing cells, he will also need a... (full context)
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...used different “ingredients, recipes, cells, and techniques,” making it difficult to replicate each other’s experiments. Gey and his colleagues had created a committee to standardize techniques, but momentum doesn’t pick up... (full context)
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George Gey himself uses HeLa to study hemorrhagic fever, and to see if the cells will cause... (full context)
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Many of George Gey’scolleagues feel that he should publish research papers on HeLa so that he can be credited... (full context)
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As tissue culture continues to grow as a field, George Gey becomes tired of the “the widespread fixation on HeLa,” complaining to a friend and colleague,... (full context)
Chapter 14: Helen Lane
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Roland H. Berg, an NFIP press officer, contacts Gey saying that he wants to write an article about HeLa. Gey replies that he will... (full context)
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Gey sends Berg’sletter to TeLinde and other officials at Hopkins asking what he should do. TeLinde... (full context)
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Gey never tells Berg that the name in the Minneapolis Star article is wrong, nor does... (full context)
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Decades later, a Rolling Stone reporter questions Margaret Gey about the name Helen Lane, and she says that it was simply the result of... (full context)
Chapter 18: “Strangest Hybrid”
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The group contacts George Gey for a sample of the original HeLa culture. Gey, however, has kept no original HeLa... (full context)
Chapter 21: Night Doctors
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...Bobbette adds that Hopkins took Henrietta’s cells without her consent, and expresses anger at Dr. Gey. (full context)
Chapter 22: “The Fame She So Richly Deserves”
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In 1970, George Gey finds out that he has a deadly form of pancreatic cancer. Before surgery, he asks... (full context)
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A few months after George Gey dies, Howard Jones and several other Hopkins doctors, including a geneticist named Victor McKusick, start... (full context)
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...always misidentified as Helen Larsen or Helen Lane. People begin to speculate that she was Gey’s secretary or mistress, or perhaps a prostitute. (full context)
Chapter 23: “It’s Alive”
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...from him. Along with her letter, she encloses a copy of the article about George Gey and HeLa written by McKusick and Howard Jones, but no one in the family remembers... (full context)
Chapter 24: “Least They Can Do”
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...researchers and scientists are making money off of the cells. They become certain that George Gey and Johns Hopkins stole Henrietta’s cells for profit. Rebecca reveals that George Gey never made... (full context)
Chapter 28: After London
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...first in his family to attend school, he learned about Henrietta while working for George Gey. Finally, in October 1996 at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Pattillo organizes the first HeLa... (full context)
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...an event, and attendees question her about who’s profited from the cells, and whether George Gey had patented them. As Mary tries to respond, the crowd grows angrier, falling silent only... (full context)