Gina Jones was very ill when she came to Hospital for Special Surgery in September, 2000, as a patient of Jane Salmon, MD. She had been coping with lupus for many years, but it wasn't until 1998, when she was pregnant with her third child that she began to experience severe complications.
"When I first saw Ms. Jones, she had terrible pain in her hips and couldn't walk," notes Dr. Salmon. "Her lupus was also affecting her kidneys and she was having some issues with her heart."
Ms. Jones had clearly come to the right place and to the right doctor. Hospital for Special Surgery has a longstanding interest in lupus and a highly focused group of clinicians and scientists dedicated to understanding its causes and finding a cure. Dr. Salmon is a foremost authority on the disease, pursuing innovative research in areas that greatly affect patients.
In 1996, Dr. Salmon identified that interactions of genes can determine severity of disease in different ethnic groups. She has also closely studied mechanisms of organ injury in lupus and today is pursuing research to better understand the development of atherosclerosis as well as pregnancy loss in lupus patients.
Under Dr. Salmon's care, Ms. Jones greatly improved. Her medications were readjusted and she was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who would perform joint replacement surgery to address her hip problems. A social work supervisor before lupus caused her to leave her job, Ms. Jones plans to return to work soon.
"I've been doing really well," says Ms. Jones, a mother of three young children. "When I came to HSS they took care of everything. I've struggled a lot, but we're making it. I keep getting stronger and stronger, which gives me hope. If I can get back to work and manage that, I'll know I can do anything."