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Clear Skin. Grateful Patient.

New Rheumatology Team Solves One Patient’s Pesky Skin Rash

Photo of Tim Rich in his workshop

Tim Rich

In his workshop, back to his normal life.

Several days after working in a friend’s backyard, 58-year-old Tim Rich developed an irritating rash on his chest. The itchy red blotches spread across his upper body, and despite trying numerous over-the-counter creams over the next several weeks, nothing worked. The rash persisted.

Thinking he had a skin condition, Tim decided to go to Lubomira Scherschun MD, one of the PIH Health dermatologists. But after testing a skin sample, the lab results were inconclusive. Dr. Scherschun suspected an autoimmune condition, so Tim was referred to a rheumatologist.

Tim called the office of Roodabeh Koolaee DO, a new rheumatologist located at PIH Health Wells Medical Office Building, and was relieved to get an appointment right away.

“Dr. Koolaee knew almost immediately what the condition was, but she ordered blood work to confirm,” said Tim “Her suspicion was correct—I had an autoimmune condition called subacute cutaneous lupus.”

Dr. Koolaee started Tim on a prescription medication that same day.

“Lupus is an autoimmune disease which affects multiple organs and systems in the body,” said Dr. Koolaee. “Subacute cutaneous lupus is often characterized by lesions, like those Tim had, and one of the most effective treatments is a medicine called Plaquenil.”

The rash stopped itching and was completely gone in a few weeks. While Tim will need to stay on the medicine for the rest of his life, his lupus is under control and he is otherwise fine and back to normal.

“In today’s hurried healthcare environment, I really appreciated that Dr. Koolaee took so much time with me and my wife to answer all of our questions,” said Tim. “She was very good at explaining my condition, the medicine, the side effects and the benefits. I can’t say enough good things about the PIH Health Rheumatology team, and especially the expertise of Dr. Koolaee.”

For more information about PIH Health Rheumatology, call 562.862.2775.

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