The Doctors: Doctor Dies From Sickle Cell Anemia Trying to Get Pregnant
Dr. Travis Stork talked about how doctors are supposed to be exempt from illness, because they’re healers. But The Doctors had the story of a doctor with sickle cell anemia who suffered in silence.
Dr. Rachel Ross came by to tell the story of her sister, Rebekkah. Rachel and Rebekkah were best friends, but Rebekkah had a secret that she shared with their mother: she had sickle cell anemia. Their mother explained that when she was young, Rebekkah told her to never tell anyone that she was sick. So she never told anyone about it again.
Rachel and Rebekkah went to medical school together and came back home to practice medicine with their dad and their brother. Rachel said it wasn’t until she was a sophomore in college that she realized Rebekkah had sickle cell anemia.
The Drs: Sickle Cell Anemia Pregnancy
Rebekkah had chosen to handle sickle cell by herself, because she didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her. She decided to get pregnant and she miscarried, causing all of her organs to shut down.
“Ultimately, her desire to get pregnant is what caused her to pass away so early,” Rachel said.
Dr. Stork said he was sorry to hear about her sister’s passing. Dr. Lisa Masterson said Rebekkah sounded like a very strong woman. Rachel said she wished Rebekkah could’ve shared more.
The Doctors: What Sickle Cell Anemia Does To The Body
Dr. Stork said that they hadn’t spent a lot of time talking about sickle cell disease on the show, but the pain from the disease can be debilitating and he said Rebekkah’s ability to shield that pain from anyone was very impressive.
Dr. Stork explained that in healthy people’s blood, there are normal, pliant donut-shaped red blood cells. These red blood cells have hemoglobin in them, which is a protein that carries oxygen to all the organs in the body. In sickle cells, the red blood cells become sickle. They’re not round or pliant and they aren’t efficient at carrying oxygen. They also can clump in the veins and arteries.
The Drs TV: Sickle Cell Anemia Symptoms
Dr. Stork said that the condition increases the chance of getting chest pain syndrome, strokes, joint pain, arthritis and infections. It also can cause pain all over the body, from the head to the legs to the chest to the arms.
Rachel said that Rebekkah was able to handle her pain so well, she was only hospitalized four times in her life. She never had a blood transfusion until the very end. She said that Rebekkah was chronically tired. She said that Rebukkah never liked anyone to ask her how she was doing or feeling.