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ASH President: No Medical Merit to Sickle Cell Trait to Explain In-Custody Deaths


The American Society of Hematology has issued an updated position statement asserting that it is medically inaccurate to claim sickle cell trait as a cause of death based solely on the presence of sickled cells at autopsy. ASH policy was updated in response to the recent investigation and coverage in The New York Times, How a Genetic Trait in Black People Can Give the Police Cover

In response to the article, ASH President Martin S. Tallman, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center published a letter to the editor today and issued the following statement:

The use of sickle cell trait to cover up the deaths of Black people while in police custody is abhorrent and has no scientific or medical merit. Based upon our examination of the highest quality, up-to-date data, as expert hematologists and scientists, we decry the use of sickle cell trait as a cause or major contributor of death for Black people while in police custody.

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