The Brooklyn Hospital Center was recognized this November by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) for its commitment to children with sickle cell anemia and other special health care needs.
“We’re designated by the NYSDOH as an official Hemoglobinopathy Specialty Center,” explained Dr. Swayam Sadanandan, chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. “This means that many babies diagnosed with sickle cell disease and other hemoglobin disorders through the State’s Newborn Screening Program will be sent here for confirmatory tests and follow up care.”
Newborns with sickle cell anemia face many challenges such as pain and infection. And they have to be monitored closely to make sure their spleen, lung and other organs are not damaged by the disease.
It’s a team effort, requiring the close collaboration of several specialist physicians and nurses and, importantly, the parents.
“Educating the child’s parents is one of the most important things we do,” says Kristen Riccardelli, a Child Life specialist who works closely with the hospital’s pediatric inpatients.
“Parents learn to be partners in their own child’s care. When they understand the disease, compliance with the treatment plan gets much better and we see better continuity of care."