In January 2015 I suffered an aortic dissection and went to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for emergency surgery. Due to extreme loss of blood flow, I had “compartment syndrome” and had to have fasciotomies on three limbs. I ended up spending five months at UCLA recovering from this life threatening event. After one month in the hospital doctors evaluated my right leg and said I would never walk on it again and recommended amputation. Melanie worked with my mom and advocated for a second opinion and she found a “Amputation Prevention” doctor at UCLA and helped my mother get in touch with him for a second opinion. The doctor evaluated me and felt that he could save my leg from being amputated. After several months of being in his care and continued physical therapy, I was able to walk on my own. Had Melanie not been there to advocate for me, I certainly would’ve lost my leg and faced the rest of my life with a prosthesis and the emotional and physical pain involved in losing my leg. Because of Melanie’s help I have both of my legs and enjoy my life to the fullest.
My brother was suffering from advanced melanoma that had metastasized to other parts of his body. He was released from a clinical trial that he was in because it was no longer effective. Melanie was able to research other clinical trials that were available for his advanced cancer. She quickly located an oncologist at UCLA for a different clinical trial that he could be a
She quickly developed a rapport with the administrator of the oncologist office responsible for scheduling patients. Melanie was able to coordinate an appointment for my brother for the following week at UCLA.
During this time, it became necessary for my brother to apply for Social Security benefits. Melanie met us at the Social Security office and was able to have my brother, who was extremely ill, avoid a lengthy wait in line, and arrange for him to be taken to the front of the line to a secluded area where he was able to apply for benefits. Sadly, my brother succumbed to his illness, but Melanie provided guidance, navigation, support, and comfort to me and my family during a most challenging time.
If you need a Patient Advocate, you can’t do better than Melanie. While I think I know my way around doctor’s offices and insurance, Melanie can see around corners and always had good ideas that I hadn’t considered.
She’s thoughtful and pro-active but never overbearing or intrusive. Her fees are reasonable, and she accounts promptly on a monthly basis. I sought out her counsel and valued her advice. I’d engage her again if I ever face a complex surgical situation.