Let's Get Lupus Facts Straight!

Television show ‘Good Wife’ conveys misinformation about lupus

New York, NY—The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation was thrilled to hear “lupus” on last week’s season premiere of the CBS show, “The Good Wife”—but also dismayed to hear that misinformation about the disease was being communicated.

The episode indicated that the autoimmune disease (or medicines taken for it) could change a person's blood type, such as from a group O to a group AB blood type.

Misinformation on Lupus

“What was implied on the show is incorrect,” said Ellen Ginzler, MD, M.P.H, a rheumatologist with a large lupus practice at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center (SUNY). “Lupus and the medicines taken for the disease cannot change a person’s blood type.”

“In 20 years at SUNY and Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC), I don't remember a lupus patient for whom the blood bank had a real problem in determining ABO [blood] type, despite having tested many with auto-antibodies,” added Elizabeth S. Gloster, MD, blood bank director at SUNY and KCHC and a professor of clinical pathology.

“Moreover, I have never heard of a real change in ABO type in lupus patients—i.e., a structural change in ABO antigens that would be reflected as a change in ABO type,” said Dr. Gloster.

Importance of Getting the Facts Straight

Lupus is a serious and potentially fatal chronic illness in which the immune system mistakenly attacks otherwise healthy tissues and organs.

Accurate information and experienced care are vital for proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of further damage in lupus, which affects approximately 1.5 million Americans and millions more worldwide.

For factual information about lupus, see our “About Lupus” section.

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