Why the ER is the last resort for sickle cell patients
White Coat, Black Art explores the fear of the ER people with sickle cell disease face. The painful, hereditary blood disorder affects 5-6000 Canadians, mostly people of colour whose ancestors come from Africa, the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula. Serena Thompson is one of them. She tells Dr. Goldman going to the ER is a 'last resort' for her because she's often stereotyped as a 'hospital hopper' who is seeking drugs. She says when she is unable to manage her pain at home, she forces herself to dress up and brush her hair before going to the ER in the hope that her appearance will ensure staff take her seriously. Now, COVID-19 has forced her to face her anxiety about the ER, because as a Black patient, she's at higher risk of getting the virus and sickle cell makes her even more vulnerable. She and other sickle cell patients hope the current reckoning over systemic racism will help to change how they are treated in the health-care system. Dr. Jennifer Bryan, who runs a sickle cell working group at University Health Network in Toronto says stories like Thompson's are far too common and 'heartbreaking.' She and her colleagues are working to improve care and break down racist barriers for sickle cell patients.
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store