Michigan dermatologists honored for diagnosing rare condition

The American Academy of Dermatology has honored board-certified dermatologists Steven Daveluy, MD, FAAD, and Benjamin Workman, MD, FAAD, as Patient Care Heroes for their teamwork with oncologists to diagnose a rare condition affecting just one in a million patients, known as drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome.

Sarah Shark of Bay City, Michigan, was prescribed a common medication while hospitalized for an intestinal condition.

Three weeks later, she developed a fever and rash. With worsening symptoms, Shark was admitted to the intensive care unit with a fever of 104 degrees, where bloodwork showed abnormal liver function and an extreme elevation in her white blood cells, suggesting leukemia.

Before Shark began chemotherapy, her oncology team requested dermatologists examine her rash.

Not only was I afraid I had cancer, but my arms and face were covered with an incredibly painful, blistering, and swollen rash. I'm thankful that my doctors took the time to work together and bring in dermatologists who were familiar with my symptoms to find the true cause of my symptoms."

Sarah Shark

Dr. Daveluy and then-resident Dr. Workman confirmed a drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome diagnosis with a biopsy and collaborated with Shark's oncology team to devise a recovery plan.

Drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome is a life-threatening immune reaction to a drug and is typically characterized by fever, rash and multiorgan failure.

In many cases, including for Shark, the syndrome can be mistaken as a viral illness, infection, or other condition.

Board-certified dermatologists are trained to recognize and treat unusual symptoms or rare diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. Sarah's case shows how important it is for dermatologists to be involved, trusted members of the care team."

Dr. Daveluy of Wayne State University in Detroit

"Sarah's drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome diagnosis and subsequent treatment reinforces just how vital collaboration across physicians and specialties is," said Dr. Workman of Saginaw Bay Dermatology in Bay City, Mich. "I'm proud to have worked with Dr. Daveluy and the oncology team to make a true difference in Sarah's life."

The AAD created the Patient Care Heroes program to recognize physicians who transform patients' lives by utilizing their expertise and collaborating with other physicians to treat serious skin disease.

"Physicians truly shine when we collaborate with others to advance patient care," said board-certified dermatologist George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD. "The partnership between Drs. Daveluy, Workman, and the oncology team provided the best care for the right diagnosis, and prevented unnecessary and expensive treatment."

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