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Readers discuss articles about platelet-rich plasma therapy and suicides by physicians

Platelet-rich plasma

As a cosmetic plastic surgeon, I have been using platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) for over four years as an adjunct aid in free fat grafting (FFG). PRP helps fill defects left after removing skin cancer and expedites healing and volume retention for improved cosmetic results.

I have also used it in hundreds of cosmetic FFG cases. PRP greatly adds to improving my results. But as the article [“How well does popular treatment for sports injuries work?,” July 15] points out, it is not yet a “perfect science.” I continue to work toward that end.

Stephen X. Giunta, Alexandria, Va.

I discovered cytokine-rich plasma therapy, CRP, after suffering an oblique tear in the medial meniscus of my right knee.

The tear happened about a year and half ago, and the pain was getting increasingly worse. I come from a family of doctors, who encouraged me to see three top orthopedic surgeons. Each said the same thing: “I am going to go in there, and if I think it needs to be replaced, I am just going to replace it.”

Surgery is costly and the recovery time is prolonged. My dad suggested I try a CRP shot. It’s been about a month and a half. I went from a pain level of 7 to zero, sometimes 1. I can run, swim, play tennis and do everything I could do before again.

To a person in his mid-20s who cannot afford to be off his feet for a week, this was a blessing for me.

Grant Kessler, Washington

Doctor suicides

I appreciated “What does it mean when your doctor commits suicide?” [July 15]. The author enumerates many of the stresses in medicine today: insurance-driven concerns, overwhelming patient loads, a heavy sense of responsibility and, for women physicians, the need to attend to the dual roles of motherhood and breadwinner.

As the article notes, physicians are vulnerable to self-destructive ways of managing these stressors, including alcohol and drug abuse, and can develop anxiety disorders, depression and other physical and psychiatric maladies.

There are, however, resources available. The Medical Society of the District of Columbia’s Physician Health Committee evaluates and monitors impaired physicians and other health professionals in the District. Medical practitioners are either referred to the committee by the D.C. Board of Medicine or they seek our help voluntarily. We offer impaired physicians five-year contracts: If they follow our recommendations, we will advocate for them with their employer and regulatory agencies.

To educate medical students and residents-in-training about physician impairment, including the risk of suicide, we provide annual lectures to Georgetown and George Washington medical students.

The Physician Health Committee is made up of physicians — some of whom are in solid and sustained recovery themselves — who volunteer their time to the Medical Society, and we welcome referrals from doctors in distress.

Gerald P. Perman, Member, Physician Health Committee, D.C. Medical Society, Washington



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