Let’s face it — proctology aside — there’s probably no medical specialty that gets less respect than dermatology. Say the word “dermatology” to the average person on the street and you’ll hear about Botox, peels, fillers and treating some kid’s acne — and how every rash is dermatitis and it just needs some cream — and how most derms finish up their patient schedules in time to get out on the links. Dermatology is, in some ways, the Rodney Dangerfield of medicine.
Forget all that … well, forget a lot of that. There are many hardworking dermatologists out there, dealing with awful-looking skin conditions — some of which don’t even have names, much less effective treatments. Today at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, I listened to a series of talks, each detailing how the case dermatologists were able to identify cases of pseudoxanthoma elasticum with systemic involvement, poikiloderma with neutropenia, and limited Wegener’s granulomatosis presenting with pyoderma gangrenosum.
It was fascinating to hear how a dermatologist would notice one small mark or odd skin pattern and make the jump to consider that he or she might not be looking at a single skin condition but one with elements of different conditions. At the same time, they’re trouble-shooting treatment — adding and subtracting drugs to relieve different symptoms and comfort the patient.
I think it’s high time to put this old stereotype to bed. Dermatologists are among some of the hardest-working people in the business. So, can we give ’em a little respect; they’ve earned it.