Archive | 2:49 am

something heart-warming

1 Feb

I’ve been hearing this article mentioned in conversations, been seeing it float around my facebook feed for the last couple weeks.  It doesn’t treat the field of dermatology too favorably, though it serves more as an example of a larger problem (as the title implies, increased specialists’ income at cost to the patient) than the problem itself.  So I thought I’d share a recent story of generosity in the field, since it’s been where I’ve spent the last four weeks.  Granted, as John reminded me, I’m learning from pediatric dermatologists predominantly, and one takes a pretty significant pay cut if “pediatric” is in the title, not to mention if one works at an academic institution.  All that aside…

My friend emailed me recently about an area of irritation that she developed on her wrist from wearing a fitbit, asking me whether I thought she should see a specialist and if I had recommendations.  Unfortunately, she’s new to the area and didn’t yet have a primary care doctor set up, so I told her that it would be tricky to see a dermatologist since insurance typically requires a referral, then it would take a while to get an appointment as a new patient.

Literally the next day in clinic, the head of the department was discussing the skin irritation people have been experiencing due to the fitbit.  He met one woman recently, performed some allergy tests and was intrigued.  I told him that, coincidentally, I just heard from a friend experiencing similar symptoms, but that she didn’t have a provider.  Without hesitation he responded, “Oh, I’d be happy to see her.  Does 1:30 this afternoon work for her?”  Keep in mind that this is a pediatric dermatologist, and he was offering to see my 30-year-old friend free of charge on his afternoon reserved for academic responsibilities.  (Also awesome that my friend was willing to drop everything at work to make it in.)

He spent over an hour with us (he and my friend let me sit in), conducting an extensive history and physical exam (especially helpful given her family history of skin cancer), going over her skin findings and putting together a plan, and educating me (he let me conduct the KOH test for fungus).  A nurse and staff member also generously donated their time, helping my friend get registered (an annoyingly lengthy procedure) and patch-testing her for allergies.  He then sent her home with his own personal email address and contact information of adult dermatologists in her area that he recommended.  The whole experience was more than I anticipated, more than I could have hoped.  Kind of renews faith in doctors’ humanity, right?

And, a bit irrelevant, but also pulling at the heart strings, here is Aurelia greeting John when he picked her up from daycare.  She’s been doing something so sweet recently.  For a while now, she’s been crawling into our laps, book in hand, ready to be read to.  Now she’s started actually physically opening one of our hands with her hand and plopping a book directly into the open hand.  There is no confusion about her request.