New sickle cell treatment center opens at BJC

ST. LOUIS – Barnes-Jewish Hospital is introducing the 12th sickle cell treatment center in the country. The center is revolutionizing healthcare for the underrepresented community affected by the disease.

“They are going to be able to come here and get treated and go back to living their life taking care of their kids, going back to being an employer…and is not taking time off because they are waiting in the ED for many hours to be treated,” Dr. Sana Saif Ur Rehman, director of the BJC Sickle Cell Treatment Center, said.

Specialized care is necessary as over 100,000 individuals are affected by the disease throughout the United States. Ashley Turner is one of the patients at the new center.

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“Being able to come to a pain center gives you the peace of mind…I would be in pain for days before I would go to the emergency room, before I knew about the treatment centers, because nobody likes to be judged for no reason,” Turner said.

The new 1,700-square-foot center allows patients to avoid emergency room wait times and facing judgement for the amount of medication required.

“It is very important for patients with sickle cell disease to receive care in a setting where physicians who are specialized to treat this disease,” Dr. Saif Ur Rehman said. “We have dedicated social work support, physical therapy support, (and a) nurse coordinator for our patients. And we are the only center in the 300-mile radius that takes care of patients with sickle cell disease.”

Those who are looking to visit the center must be a BJC patient to receive a referral from their doctor.

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