Managing sickle cell during childhood

Odessa Brown Children's Clinic cares for children with chronic health conditions like asthma, obesity and it's a leader in treating sickle cell anemia.

 Meet Saleea Rose Cornelius, a 10-year-old with an eye on the future.    

"I want to be a doctor and work here," said Saleea.

The Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, where Saleea has been receiving treatment for sickle cell anemia since she was a few months old.

"I feel like a normal kid,” said Saleea. “Even I forget I have it sometimes."

Sickle cell is an inherited red blood cell disorder. It's a chronic disease and more common among certain ethnic groups. Patients can suffer a lot of pain.

"What happens is, under certain kinds of stress, the blood cells change shape and can stop blood flow,” said OBCC Director Dr. Michael Bender. “And that stopping the blood flow can happen in any part of the body."  

At the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, where 140 sickle cell kids get treatment, education and wrap around care is the key to helping patients and families manage the disease.   

"It's learning about how to prevent pain, how to deal with pain, what other things to look out for, fever, stroke, lung problems, it's bringing in nursing, social work, it's working with the schools,” said Dr. Bender. “It's looking at all aspects of life and how do you optimize them to avoid problems."   

That's why hour-long patient appointments are the norm here and parents are given plenty of time to talk about concerns.  

Dr. Bender and his team are available 24/7 for patients and their families.   

"I can't imagine without Odessa Brown, we just need them,” said Saleea's father Dumont Cornelius.

"Families know they can call at any hour, we will listen, we'll trust them, they know we're there for them, which makes them feel more comfortable as they are going through this," said Dr. Bender.

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Copyright 2016 KING


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