Minnesota Criticized for Lack of Sickle Cell Care
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Advocates for people with sickle cell disease are criticizing Minnesota's lack of care, saying the number of related deaths in the state is unclear because officials don't track adult cases.
Advocates also say adult cases are climbing to crisis levels as more West Africans and African-Americans move to Minnesota, which has no adult sickle cell clinics or hematologists specializing in the disease.
Sickle cell is determined when misshapen red blood cells appear that can block blood vessels, cause pain and life-threatening conditions, like kidney failure and stroke.
Two Health Department officials acknowledge Minnesota's failure to treat the disease. Barb Dalbec is the manager of the agency's program for children with special health needs. She says a contributing factor is Minnesota's health equity issues.