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October 11, 1985

Sickle Cell Anemia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1985;254(14):1958-1963. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360140116038

IN THIS issue, the editors of JAMA have reprinted an article that stands as a landmark in medical history. This article, which first appeared in The Journal 63 years ago, is a detailed account of the clinical course of the first patient recognized with sickle cell anemia at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

History  Verne R. Mason was in residency training at the time and reported this case in detail because of its supposed rarity and to draw attention to the disease as a clinical entity. In addition, he was the first to use the term sickle cell anemia, deriving it from the description of the cells in Herrick's1 original report. In his report, Mason recognized that the disease was a lifelong condition and probably inherited and that the reticulocyte count was elevated, although he did not conclude that the anemia was hemolytic (leaving that to his classmate, Sydenstricker). Furthermore, he