Raymond Douglas, MD, a surgeon with La Peer Health Systems, is world-renowned for treating Graves’ disease, a condition characterized by inflammation and a buildup of tissue around the eyes that cause them to bulge painfully from their sockets.
Dr. Douglas is a board-certified oculoplastic surgeon. He specializes in reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. Patients with thyroid eye disease, previous unsuccessful surgery (blepharoplasty), cancers of the eyelids and face, and trauma-induced injuries all seek Dr. Douglas’ expert care.
Dr. Douglas also has a practice in Shanghai, China, and is frequently asked to teach his novel techniques to other surgeons internationally. Prior to opening his private practice in Beverly Hills, he served as the director of the Thyroid Eye Disease Center at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. His expertise in treating thyroid-associated eye diseases and cosmetic and reconstruction surgeries has made him a highly respected and sought-after physician. Dr. Douglas is also the director of the orbital and thyroid eye disease program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but it his groundbreaking research on treatments for Graves’ or thyroid-associated orbitopathy that garners worldwide attention.
LACMA: Do patients suffering from Graves’ disease have options?
Dr. Douglas: They do. The new message for patients is that we can give them a complete and customized care program that doesn’t require surgery and can actually reverse the disease. We don’t simply treat the disease; we provide the patient with a holistic plan that puts the patient as the center spoke in a continuum of care.
LACMA: Patient-centered care is not new. How is your program unique?
Dr. Douglas: The patient has a navigator, a care coordinator that works with sometimes 10 specialists, all working in harmony, on behalf of the patient. These patients are suffering from autoimmune thyroid disease that is 10 times more common than all autoimmune diseases combined.
LACMA: How important is the care coordinator?
Dr. Douglas: The care coordinator works in concert with nuclear medicine experts, endocrinologists, other physicians, clinical support team members, social workers, nursing. There is one phone number, one point of contact, to make the process comfortable and convenient for the patient.
LACMA: You often say that thyroid disease is insidious because it affects so many other organs.
Dr. Douglas: Doctors and patients need to know the heart can be impacted and effects can be catastrophic if not treated. This is where we come in and can facilitate success.
LACMA: You have been featured on CNN talking about teprotumumab, a breakthrough therapy. How does this drug help those with Graves’ disease?
Dr. Douglas: Our new study, “Teprotumumab for Thyroid-Associated Ophthalmopathy,” has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The FDA has designated this drug as a “breakthrough” therapy. This designation is only given to a couple of drugs each year and is reserved for drugs that are so important and beneficial to changing the field of treatment for patients. Twenty-two centers were involved. This is the largest trial of biologic ever in this disease. If any LACMA colleagues have patients with this disease, I encourage them to contact our office at 888-979-4474.
In addition to caring for those patients with Graves’ disease, Dr. Douglas has made it a mission to ensure no one is turned away due to financial hardship and/or lack of health insurance. It is for this reason he has established a new fund, called TED-Care, to help alleviate the financial burden thyroid eye disease patients incur for treatment and travel.
Specifically, TED-Care provides financial assistance to uninsured patients and individuals with high out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, it provides those with little or no insurance access to the healthcare they need to restore their lives to the functionality and vitality they once knew.
As Dr. Douglas puts it:
“I felt it was imperative to not only create an optimal treatment setting, but to help those patients who seek care but have financial or insurance-related challenges. The program was made possible by an anonymous gift from a generous and grateful patient who wanted other thyroid eye disease patients to experience the same excellent care they received through our program. This original gift has already inspired others, including the Bell Charitable Foundation, to contribute to the fund.”
To learn more, contact Dr. Douglas’ office at 888-979-4474.