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Special lights keep a veteran safe during surgery

An interdisciplinary team makes organ transplant surgery safe for a patient with erythropoietic protoporphyria, a rare photosensitivity condition.

Stacey Creed's story

SkinSerious story Stacey Creed
Stacey Creed, Cadillac, MI
My whole life I have had sensitivity to the sun. As a child, my parents would bring me to different doctors, who told me I had erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) and tried different treatments but nothing really changed. As time went on, I became especially sensitive to the sun and before I would go outside, I would have to wear a large hat with long sleeves and gloves on each hand.

It got so bad that I couldn’t be in the sun for more than five minutes without incurring painful itching and burning. I decided I couldn’t live like this anymore and decided to see a dermatologist.

Shortly before my dermatology appointment, I was told my liver was failing and I needed a transplant. I saw Dr. Henry Lim for my light sensitivity and informed him of this news. Dr. Lim knew that the strong lamps in the operating room could be harmful to me and burn my internal organs because of the strong light they emit. He worked with my transplant team and the hospital engineers to make sure the operating room would be safe by installing special filters on operating room lights that wouldn’t harm my body. He was also able to have these light filters installed in my hospital room so I wouldn’t be burned while in recovery.

They did a lot of work on my behalf to make sure I would be safe during my operation. I still see Dr. Lim regularly for my EPP, and he’s helped me find relief through topical treatments and medications. Years later, I can spend time in the sun and my liver is working well.

My team of doctors was instrumental in helping me.

The dermatologist's perspective

Henry Lim, MD, FAAD

“The effects and burdens of skin disease are wide reaching, and people with rare conditions often face additional barriers. If not addressed, the strong operating room lights would have caused Stacey immense pain and harm during the operation. I’m proud to have collaborated with other physicians and the engineers to ensure his lifesaving liver transplant could be a safe experience, allowing him a path forward to a cancer-free life.”

─ Henry Lim, MD, FAAD, Dermatologist and Former Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital

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