New bill will help New Yorkers test, learn about sickle cell disease

The bill includes a collaboration between the city’s Department of Health and New York City Health + Hospitals to ensure patients get unbiased treatment.

Nov 2, 2023, 9:37 PM

Updated 265 days ago

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The New York City Council has voted to pass a new bill that will help educate and test New Yorkers regarding sickle cell disease.  
The New York Blood Center says that around 10,000 New Yorkers are impacted by the disease, which is an inherited cell disorder that most commonly affects African Americans. They say that the new bill will raise awareness to the public and medical communities.  
"One sickle cell patient can use hundreds of units of blood per year, and they generally require blood from a diverse community and the blood has to be specially matched,” said Andrea Cefarelli, of the New York Blood Center.  
The goal of the new bill is to improve outcomes for patients of sickle cell disease. The bill includes a collaboration between the city’s Department of Health and New York City Health + Hospitals to ensure patients get unbiased treatment.  
Merlene Smith-Sotillo, president and CEO of the Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation, says that she hopes the bill can give hope to those fighting the disease – including her daughter.  
"She still goes to the hospital, she still struggles every day but she's not alone, there's so many other sickle cell patients who need the care and attention,” said Smith-Sotillo.  
The bill will also require pre- and post-conception genetic testing for the sickle cell trait for those in the at-risk population.  


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