Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) is an inherited disorder more common among African-American populations and some Hispanic groups. Studies estimate that one out of every 200 African-Americans may be a carrier of the condition. This means that they carry one of the genetic factors for Sickle Cell Anemia but do not show any symptoms. Only when someone is born with both genetic factors do the disease symptoms manifest.
Patients develop unusual looking red blood cells - actually shaped like sickles instead of round donuts or pillows. These malformed blood cells do not circulate in the blood stream properly and can cause clotting at various points throughout the body. An accumulation of sickle cells can lead to a kind of blood cell "traffic jam" in which nutrients and oxygen fail to move effectively through the body. Patients then experience what are known as "sickle cell crises"; they suffer severe pain, as well as ischemia, loss of function and potential damage to major organs. The most common crises include acute chest and vaso occlusive crises. These episodes can be treated with medications to relax blood vessels and allow more nourishing blood to get through to starving tissue.
One of the reasons why some geneticists believe that Sickle Cell Anemia has survived evolutionarily is that the recessive genes may somehow confer some degree of immunity against malaria and other diseases.
At risk parents can undergo genetic screening before and during pregnancy to determine the likelihood of giving birth to a child with Sickle Cell Anemia.
Treatment options for this painful disease exist including transplants of bone marrow, hemoglobin activation drugs, gene therapies, analgesics, nutritional supplements and even treatments with a cyanide derived chemical. However, there is no cure.
If a healthcare provider was negligent in failing to alert you of the need for certain prenatal screening tests, or if errors were made in the prenatal screening process, there exists a possibility that one could pursue a claim for damages to recover extraordinary life care expenses related to the treatment of the child's Sickle Cell Anemia, as well as emotional distress damages related to the diagnosis of SCA.
If you need to consult a New Jersey personal injury attorney, you need to contact Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari. The initial consultation is always free.