Sickle Cell is that disease that necessitates having more than just one doctor by virtue of all the ways it affects patients. As pointed out in recent posts, the impact it has is more than just physical but also involves the mental, emotional and psychological well-being of those affected.
I may or may not have mentioned the team it requires to manage sickle cell but for the purpose of today's post, I will attempt to list at least 5 doctors for sickle cell that you need and highlight what each one does for a patient and their families:
1. Hematologist: A specialist in the study of blood, blood forming organs and blood diseases which include leukemia, lymphoma and of course sickle cell anemia.
2. Sickle Cell Educator: One whose goal is to help you understand the disease, its complications and its treatments.
3. Social Worker: The social worker is part of the Hematology Division in your treatment. Their role is to provide counselling and guidance, crisis intervention and referrals to community services and support groups. The hematology social workers have expertise in understanding the impact of SCD on patients and their families.
4. Physician Therapist: This person's role is essential in the management of SCD symptoms like pain and increasing lung capacity.
5. Bone Marrow Transplant Experts: They ensure quality care and successful recovery after a procedure. There are a number of caregivers here whose job it is to make certain that the recovery process is as easy and seamless as possible for the patient. They include the following:
- Social Worker
- Transplant Physician
- Advanced Practitioner
- Psychiatrist & Addiction Counselor
- RN Transplant Co-ordinator
- Specialist in Infectious Diseases
Until coming here, my siblings had no access to any of the above medical personnel other than our primary care physician who happened to also be a hematologist. This sadly is the case back home where a lot of sickle cell patients have no real medical team to help them properly manage the disease. It is in my estimation why a lot have passed away sooner (my brother included). A patient may also require a Gastroenterologist and this is a specialist with intensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines and the biliary system like the liver, pancreas, gall bladder and bile ducts.
What other doctors do you know that treat sickle cell disease? Please share in the comments and if you know anyone with sickle cell, be a good friend by letting them know that these are some of the doctors they should have access to for proper disease management and care.