Melanoma Survivor Thankful for Hoag’s New Melanoma/Advanced Skin
Undergoing treatment for melanoma is far from a “positive experience,”
but those are the first words David Hartshorne uses when he discusses
the care he received at Hoag.
“When you hear the ‘cancer’ word, it’s daunting.
But I was referred to Dr. [Burton] Eisenberg at Hoag, and on my initial
visit I also met [nurse navigator] Lori Berberet. They were amazing,”
said Hartshorne, 56. “I had a great outcome, but I know that even
if I didn’t, I still would feel the same way: I was so grateful
to have such a positive experience working with Hoag.”
From the speed of his diagnosis to the availability and professionalism
of the entire medical staff, Hartshorne says he felt Hoag’s treatment
plan was designed not only to rid him of potentially life-threatening
cancer, but also to comfort him.
The retired Irvine business consultant, said previous experiences with
other medical facilities in the area did not prepare him for the level
of personalized attention he received at Hoag. Nurse navigator Lori Berberet,
R.N., M.S., , coordinated all his care between specialists, called to
check in on him several times and talked to him on a personal level that
put him and his wife, Sherry, at ease. Hartshorne said the anesthesiology
and radiology staff were capable and professional, making him feel he
was in good hands. And the physicians were available and engaged in a
way he had not expected.
He was particularly surprised that his surgery would be performed by Burton
Eisenberg, M.D., Executive Medical Director for Hoag Family Cancer Institute
and the Grace E. Hoag Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair.
“It was amazing because I knew who he was, and I didn’t expect
that he would be my physician,” Hartshorne said. “At first,
I thought I’d be handed off to someone else – that he might
be familiar with my case, but that was it. I was surprised that he was
the one doing the surgery. During both the pre-surgery consultation and
post he was there, he was engaged. I felt really blessed to have those
folks in my corner.”
Hartshorne said the care he received was something the associates with
large academic medical centers on the East Coast would receive, “World-class
health care and very personalized approach, to have that locally at Hoag,
it blew me away.”
Dr. Eisenberg made a 4-inch incision into Hartshorne’s shoulder and
removed a few lymph nodes to test whether the cancer had spread. Melanoma
is the most serious type of skin cancer. It can be aggressive and fast-moving,
but Hartshorne’s cancer seemed to be contained.
Hartshorne now follows up with his dermatologist quarterly, as melanoma
is known to reappear. While he told Dr. Eisenberg recently “I hope
I never meet you professionally again,” Hartshorne said he knows
that should something arise, capable hands will help him through.
“I couldn’t have found a more qualified team.”