Robb's Story - Melanoma

Head and Neck Melanoma Patient Story
UCLA Health article

Testimonial: Head & Neck Cancer Surgery - Melanoma

“I could not have received better care anywhere.” —Robb

I am an American physician working overseas and was diagnosed with malignant melanoma while in Africa. I contacted UCLA from Africa and was given an appointment the day after I arrived in California. In the midst of COVID19 lockdown I was concerned about the timeliness and quality of care that I might be afforded for this potentially serious condition.

Starting with the first visit, through two surgeries, and all follow-up visits everyone within the UCLA health care system were professional, compassionate, and supportive. The oncologist, Dr. Ribas, who first saw me reviewed the treatment plan in detail, set up all my screening tests, and arranged for me to see the otolaryngologist, Dr. St. John, the following day who would do my first surgery. Dr. St. John arranged for pre-op evaluation with Dr. Watt and cardiology evaluation with Dr. Bokhoor the same day. One of Dr. St. John’s nurses, Mensa Hasonovic, provided a contact number and was a constant resource to support me every step of the way.

My surgery was within 5-days of my first visit to UCLA. Dr. St. John set up an appointment for me to see a head and neck plastic surgeon, Dr. Nabili, three days after surgery, and he arranged for my plastic surgery repair the following day. Dr. Nabili was always available to assist with questions. Each physician personally called me to monitor my progress and provided great communication through regularly. The office staff from each provider was open and available for any issues that concerned me.

In addition when I informed Dr. St. John that I wore hearing aids, but had lost one hearing aid, she facilitated appointments with audiologist, Rebecca Gebremichael, who rush replacement hearing aids and adjusted appointments in the midst of protests and riots to get everything completed before my departure. My experience with UCLA health systems, the personnel representing UCLA, and the website has been overwhelming. I could not have received better care anywhere, and I can return to Africa knowing that everything is well and I have developed a new health care team that I can depend upon.