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I Thought I Was Suffering From Bug Bites. It Was Actually a Rare Skin Disease.

When internist Dr. Shaman Singh, 43, developed mysterious red bumps on his feet after a May hotel stay for a medical conference, he chalked it up to bug bites. 

Fast forward to Mother’s Day: The alarming rash on his feet had rapidly spread to his legs. Singh had to cancel plans for a celebratory family brunch. He headed to a nearby emergency room the next day, May 9. 

By that point, the itchy red bumps had begun to blister, and Singh, the associate chief medical informatics officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, knew that something was direly wrong.

“It was the worst sensation I’ve ever had,” he says. “I’d say it was an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale, to the point where I couldn’t do much of anything.” 

The emergency department did not have a dermatologist on call, so Singh left empty-handed — except for a long list of dermatologists in the area.

“My whole point of going to the ER was to expedite things,” he says. “When they gave me the spreadsheet, I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ I was set back to square one, which was essentially, ‘Figure it out for yourself.’” 

When he got home, he spent the next two hours calling each office; the earliest appointment he could find was May 19. Singh debated going to another hospital, but after a quick search online, he stumbled upon Zocdoc. While he knew of it, he’d never used it before. He found and booked an appointment with Dr. Sarah Hogan for the next day. 

Singh was “shocked” that he could find someone less than a 10-minute drive away, less than 24 hours after he’d been discharged from the ER. “Right away, she was on the same wavelength as I was,” he says 

Hogan took a few biopsies, and Singh got his results back by May 18, before he would have seen that first doctor. 

He was diagnosed with Henoch-Schönlein purpura, a rare skin disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. While the exact cause is unknown, research suggests that it’s the result of an abnormal immune response, potentially from something like the common cold. 

Since his first appointment, Singh has been seeing Hogan weekly. Most of the lesions have healed, and he hasn’t developed any new ones since he started treatment. He’s pleased with how the process has gone, and credits Zocdoc with his quick recovery. 

“For me, for my family, anytime we need to bounce out of the primary care lane and go to a podiatrist or dermatologist or anything else,” he says, “Zocdoc’s going to be the first place I look.”


Ready to book a doctor’s appointment? Visit Zocdoc.

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The Paper Gown, a Zocdoc-powered blog, strives to tell stories that help patients feel informed, empowered and understood. Views and opinions expressed on The Paper Gown do not necessarily reflect those of Zocdoc, Inc. Learn more.