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Sickle Cell Patients In Mississippi Have A New Treatment Option
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Roughly 3-thousand Mississippians are living with a chronic blood condition known as sickle cell that can create excruciating pain and potentially be deadly. The condition can change how a person manages their whole life.

Jeanne Julious Tate is a 42-year old woman living with sickle cell.

Tate says the pain can be so extreme that she choose an office career to decrease triggers and decided not to have a child because of the risk of passing it on.

"I tell everybopdy that I wouldn't wish this disease on anybody but just to let them go through it for an hour and let them see what it feels like. To have a pain crisis I would rather be hit by a bus," Tate said.

She is one of three-thousand Mississippians, mostly African-American, living with the incurable blood disease that alters the shape of the red blood cells.

The sickle shaped cell build up and trigger a pain crisis.

The pain is acute enough that patients often end up in the emergency room.

In response, the University of Mississippi Medical Center has opened the state's first dedicated sickle cell clinic.

Nurse practitioner James Campbell, who runs the clinic, says that is a benefit to both the patients and the ER

"Sometimes there are sicker people in the ER. So although sickle cell patients are in severe pain, they are pretty stable. So they just have to wait until a sicker person gets treated. Sometimes those wait times can be several hours," Campbell said.

Clinic Nurse Jessica Quinn says they can help patients manage their disease since many have multiple pain crises a year.

"We do see a lot of the same patients. We do get patients that don't live in this area. We get patients from Hattiesburg, Star, and Columbus," Quinn said.

Currently, the clinic is only open during the day on weekdays but the goals is to make it available 24-7.