Greensboro, NC -- Greensboro will become a national leader when it comes to treating people with a debilitating disease, sickle cell.
One in every 12 africa-americans has the sickle cell trait, and sickle cell disease affects between 90,000 and 100,000 Americans.
Ernestine Kendal suffers from sickle cell and explains what happens when a person has a sickle cell crisis. "A crisis with sickle cell is when the blood cells have broken down so much that they get tangled up like a clot because they are sickle and they gather together with one another and when they can't go through the blood vessels at the joints of your body. Then they are all piled up there together, it causes real bad pain." When she goes through a crisis, Kendal described it as, "Very painful to [the] touch. You don't want to be moved. And oxygen, you are not getting enough oxygen because the cells have suckled so bad."
But Cone Health is opening in new sickle cell center in March. It will be the second-round the clock comprehensive primary care center for sickle cell in the entire southeast United States -- other than Atlanta.
The six-bed center will be in a renovated wing of the Wesley Long campus. Kendal says the new center will be a huge benefit for people with sickle cell living in the Triad. "When you have to go through that emergency room, it takes a while and you are in real bad pain. You don't feel like answering all those questions and signing those papers. With the clinic being right here, even if you have a crisis, you can come to the clinic they can work on you."
WFMY News 2