BERNHARD A. KATS, M.D.
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To the editor: Hemoglobin S disease in its different heterozygous expressions, including Hb SA, Hb SC, and Hb S beta-thalassemia patterns, is of special interest because it carries the alleged risk of in-flight incapacitation. These hemoglobinopathies are considered as disqualifying for flight personnel, both by armed forces and by airlines. Responsibility for crew, passengers, and costly equipment justifies that decision, but it reflects more confidence than scientific data can provide. The validity of data collected so far, usually haphazardly, has been challenged (1). It is necessary to examine in depth each case of in-flight incapacitation associated with heterozygous hemoglobin S
KATS BA. Risk in Sickle-Cell Trait. Ann Intern Med. ;79:289–290. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-79-2-289_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1973;79(2):289-290.
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