Pediatric Clinic at UMC in Tuscaloosa cares for children with sickle cell disease

May 26, 2023

The Pediatric Clinic at University Medical Center in Tuscaloosa has offered services for children with sickle cell disease for many years.

Patients with sickle cell disease have their initial appointments at UMC with hematologists from Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, and follow-up visits are provided by pediatricians at UMC, said Dr. Shawn Cecil, assistant professor of pediatrics with the College of Community Health Sciences and pediatrician at UMC, which the College operates.

“Hematologists come every couple of months as we provide them space here at our clinic,” Cecil said. “They use some of our clinic rooms and our labs as we help get them the necessary blood work and measurements needed. We see sickle cell as another condition, just like patients with asthma or ADHD.”

Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition. Its name comes from a group of abnormal red blood cells that become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farming tool called a “sickle.” The sickle cells can get stuck and clog blood flow causing severe pain and other health problems, such as infections and strokes. The cells can also die early causing a shortage of red blood cells. Sickle cell disease is normally found at birth through routine newborn screenings.

The Pediatric Clinic at UMC in Tuscaloosa provides health care for newborns and children up to the age of 16. For more information about the pediatric services UMC offers, call (205) 348-1220.