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Patient goes from GP to Melanoma surgery in 17 days

DermView Case Study

Patient: Pat Conway, Dublin 18

I was 70 years of age at the end of September. I had some discolouration on my face but I wasn’t paying any attention to it because it wasn’t very lumpy. My wife advised me to get it checked out when I was having a consultation with my GP.

On Monday, August 24, I went to my GP about a knee problem. I mentioned the discolouration to him and he said the one guy I would like to refer you to is consultant dermatologist, Dr Rupert Barry, who is part of a new medical service, DermView.

My GP sent the referral form to DermView after the discolouration met four out of the five relevant criteria. Two days later on Wednesday, August 26, I was contacted by DermView, which totally shocked me it was so quick.

I was really impressed by the lady from DermView who explained step-by-step what was going to happen and told me their clinic was in Carrickmines just ten minutes up the road.

When I looked up and saw the amount of DermView clinics that have been set up, I felt this could save ‘mountains’ of skin cancers.

DermView set up an appointment for Thursday, September 3.

After going up on the lift to the DermView Clinic in Carrickmines, I was met at the front door. All the staff wear masks when they are dealing with patients. The clinic has plenty of sanitisers and complies with all public health guidelines.

For the appointment, a nurse took photographs on both sides of my face. I was fascinated with the use of voice activated technology. The quality of the pictures was astonishing. I could see the capillaries on my skin so it was really clear. The nurse was very good explaining the procedure and what happens afterwards. She showed me photographs on screen.

I was left with no questions to ask because everything was explained very well. It was a really good experience and only took about 40 minutes. I felt very comfortable and it was in no way intimidating. Dr Barry later reviewed the photographs and my medical history, which was sent on to him.

On Monday, September 7, Dr. Barry’s office contacted me with another appointment for a procedure on September 10 after my case was reviewed.

The same thing happened when I went in to St James Hospital to see Dr Barry, everything was explained in simple terms why this procedure was necessary

Dr Barry explained he can look at 20 or 30 scans at a time and discount ones that don’t need further investigation and send the patient back to their GP.

He is able to prioritise the five or six he needs to see and it isn’t cluttering up the waiting room in surgery, which I thought was fantastic.

Dr Barry took out the melanoma using a two millimetre margin and outlined if it comes back malignant the margin may have to be widened, which will be explained on receipt of the results.

It was a seamless operation, that is what I loved about it. It took just 17 days from the time my GP sent a referral note to being on the table having it removed. That is magic. I was amazed by this time period.

On October 2, I got the laboratory results during a consultation, which is a very quick turnaround. I am due to go back in for minor surgery to have the margins widened in line with best practice because it was malignant.

There is no great rush with this surgery, which will probably be completed towards the end of November and will ensure there is no need for further treatment. Having two procedures inside two and a half months with the receipt of results is mind blowing.

The whole DermView experience was so very good with texts, emails and phone calls. It was seamless and very smooth. There was a lovely free flow of information available all the time, so I wasn’t up tight about anything.

If DermView wasn’t available, I could be waiting for six months even though I have private health insurance. It could be up to five years for a public appointment.

I think this type of treatment is the future, particularly with Covid-19 restrictions that prevent any crowded waiting rooms.

Note: Patrick was NOT paid to do this case study

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