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Nurses need to know more about sickle cell

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Clinical knowledge on the complications of sickle cell disease is poor say authors of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD).

The authors say the findings of the first national survey of sickle cell disease and thalassaemia deaths should be a ‘wake-up call’ to nurses and doctors.

Case notes from 55 patient deaths were examined. In nine patients, the authors decided excessive doses of opioids had been given. Of these, five patients had complications due to opioid overdose.

Those needing care for acute episodes often did not get the support they required from healthcare workers with sufficient knowledge and experience, the NCEPOD authors found.

It called for better monitoring of patients on strong pain killers such as opiods to prevent overdose and respiratory failure.

Dr David Mason, NCEPOD Clinical Co-ordinator and one of the study authors added: ‘We need a multidisciplinary approach to acute pain management and regular reviews of therapy to control pain adequately. Doctors and nurses need to be more familiar with what needs to be done if patients’ vitals signs become abnormal.’

Few sickle cell disease patients were getting vaccinated against pneumococcal infection by their GP, the report also showed. Without this protection, these individuals face a 250-fold increased risk of infection, other research has found.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • NICOSAN (Niprisan), EU/FDA Orphan Drug for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease

    I would like to make you aware that there is a
    non-toxic viable treatment for sickle cell in the
    world and awaiting application for approval in the
    U.S. and E.U.

    In Clinical Trials NICOSAN eliminated crises in 80%
    of patients and in the refractory 20% it reduced crises
    by half.

    For links to clinical trials, toxicity and animal studies please visit

    Kristina Bruce RN

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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