Patients get a rare visit from Royalty

Wednesday 12 February 2014

EB patient with The Countess of Wessex

Patients with a rare condition that causes their skin to break and blister at the slightest touch met Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex today (Wednesday 12 February).

During The Countess' visit to St Thomas’ Hospital, she met patients and staff in the Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) clinic and toured the National EB Laboratory, the only lab in the UK that can diagnose all forms of the condition.

The Countess, who is patron of DEBRA, the national charity that supports individuals and families affected by EB, experienced first-hand how the unique partnership between the charity and the NHS benefits patients.

Henry George, a 20-year-old history student from Buckinghamshire who was diagnosed with EB when he was just a few days old, presented flowers to The Countess.

He says: “It was great to meet The Countess, and brilliant that she is supporting DEBRA so they can continue their vital work.

“I am extremely grateful to the specialist EB nurses and the rest of the EB medical team for enabling me to live as normal a life as possible. Because of their expertise, they are helping me to achieve my goals, get on with life and look positively to the future.”

EB is a group of genetic disorders that result in fragility of the skin and, in some cases, other internal membranes and organs. Blisters, open wounds and sores form from the slightest touch.

Dr Jemma Mellerio, consultant dermatologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, led The Countess’ visit. She says: “It’s been an honour to have Her Royal Highness visiting our clinic today. We hope we’ve given her a real insight into the pioneering work we are doing to help our patients.

“We’re very lucky to have such a strong relationship with DEBRA. Their funding enables us to carry out pioneering research and provide the best care to our patients.”

The specialist EB team is part of St John’s Institute of Dermatology at St Thomas’ Hospital. It is one of only four EB centres of excellence in the UK.

Last updated: February 2014

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