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Michigan dermatologists recognized for oncology collaboration, help patient avoid unneeded chemotherapy


Drs. Steven Daveluy and Benjamin Workman receive national honor from the American Academy of Dermatology

Rosemont, Ill.—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,” said Shark. “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.”

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,” said Dr. Daveluy of Wayne State University in Detroit. “Sarah’s case shows how important it is for dermatologists to be involved, trusted members of the care team.”

“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.”

To learn more about the work of Drs. Daveluy and Workman, visit https://www.aad.org/skinserious/stories-sarah-shark.

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About SkinSerious
SkinSerious is a campaign by the American Academy of Dermatology that highlight dermatologists’ role as partners in the health care system, providing expert care for serious conditions. To learn more, visit SkinSerious.org.

About the AAD
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to excellence in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of skin disease; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology and dermatopathology; and supporting and enhancing patient care to reduce the burden of disease. For more information, contact the Academy at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1) and YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).