“Growing up, my family sheltered and protected me with everything related to vitiligo. People never really asked me what happened to my skin. And, if I did get questions, I honestly did not know how to answer them, so I would say ‘oh, they’re just sunburn scars’ or some version of that story, and moved on. Thinking back, I probably was too supported and busy to really have an opportunity to be bothered by it. That, in itself, was a blessing. I pursued many years of schooling and training to ultimately become a practicing physician.
Now that I’ve been in medicine for many years, I primarily value and cherish the connection with my patients, as I sincerely believe medicine is fundamentally about the human experience. But, when I hear statements like ‘you don’t look Indian’ from patients, I am constantly reminded each time that I have vitiligo. Reflecting on how best to answer this question, I ask myself if I should react and explain the skin condition, or just let it go. The truth is that the majority of the time, I do ‘let it go’ when it comes to discussing my skin condition with patients. I simply don’t want to explain to patients that I have vitiligo.”
Dhaval Desai is a hospitalist.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, “The story of an Indian doctor with vitiligo.”
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Hosted by Kevin Pho, MD, The Podcast by KevinMD shares the stories of the many who intersect with our health care system but are rarely heard from.