As a Project ECHO hub, Hopkins experts connect with counterparts treating sickle cell patients around the globe
Sophie Lanzkron, an associate professor of medicine and oncology, knows that complications of sickle cell disease, such as renal failure or heart damage, are treatable, and in many cases preventable. The problem: These complications aren’t detected early enough because sickle cell patients can have such uncomfortable experiences within the health care system, they avoid it altogether.
“Patients would tell me the same story,” she recalls. “I’d ask, ‘Do you have a primary care physician?’ They’d say, ‘Why bother? They don’t know anything about sickle cell. And when I went to the [emergency department], they treated me like I was a drug addict.'”
Gail Woolley experienced similar episodes in care before she died of complications from sickle cell in 2015. The Gail Campbell Woolley Fund for Project ECHO, established by her husband, Howard, will support Hopkins’ efforts to educate and consult with medical professionals around the world to improve the quality of care for patients, especially in areas where expertise in the disease is scarce.