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Rosemont, Ill. – The American Academy of Dermatology has honored board-certified dermatologist Loretta Davis, MD, FAAD, as a Patient Care Hero for her role treating a family with a rare genetic disorder. The condition, known as pachyonychia congenita, makes nails grow abnormally thick and causes painful callouses and blisters on the soles of the feet. This can make seemingly ordinary tasks, like standing, walking, holding items, or even breathing, uncomfortable and challenging for many patients living with pachyonychia congenita.
Buff Farrow of North Augusta, S.C., was diagnosed with pachyonychia congenita at age 16 by dermatologist Dr. Jack Lesher, who had also diagnosed her father, before Dr. Davis took over their care upon Dr. Lesher’s retirement. Farrow’s son was diagnosed at birth.
Dr. Davis helps the Farrow family effectively manage the condition and limit its effects on their daily lives. Because taking extra steps increases pain and causes blisters to form, the dermatologists helped the family acquire special accommodations, such as handicapped parking.
“Growing up with such a rare condition is challenging. The physical effects can be debilitating, but the psychological aspects of it are just as bad,” said Farrow. “While there is no cure for pachyonychia congenita, Drs. Davis and Lesher have helped us manage it as best we can.”
The genetic disorder is a result of mutated keratin genes that prevent skin cell filaments from properly forming. Less than 1,000 patients are on the International Pachyonychia Congenita Research Registry worldwide, but despite its rarity, the Farrow family credits the dermatologists for helping increase awareness of the condition.
“The doctor-patient relationship is always special, but it is especially rewarding to care for three generations of such an inspiring family,” said Dr. Davis. “Our dermatology division has learned just as much from Buff and her family as they have from us. They have helped improve our knowledge about managing pachyonychia congenita, which we’ve been able to share with our dermatology colleagues.”
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.
“Living with a chronic condition—especially one that is rare like pachyonychia congenita—affects physical, mental and social well-being,” said board-certified dermatologist George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Every day, dermatologists like Dr. Davis help patients live life to the fullest while managing painful, serious, and often life-threatening conditions.”
To learn more about Dr. Davis’s work with Buff Farrow, visit https://www.aad.org/skinserious/stories-buff-farrow.
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).