Seven years ago, when Emma began her transition from male to female after struggling to realize her true identity, she sought medical help – and at first found exactly the opposite.
“One medical professional tried to cure my being trans with pills. She had me so drugged up, I was hallucinating. I couldn’t even pick a pencil up off of a desk. Another wanted to severely alter my hormone therapy following my surgery in a way that wasn’t in line with current recommendations.”
That sent Emma looking for a new doctor. She got a recommendation to contact primary care physician and transgender specialist Dr. Steven Wolfe, emailed him on a Sunday – and he emailed back the same day. During their first meeting, Emma was in tears explaining the treatment she had received up to that point. Dr. Wolfe assured her that he was up-to-date on all the research and recommendations on hormone therapy, and that they’d make sure they waited until she was comfortable after the surgery to test her hormones and decide what to do from there.
“Dr. Wolfe is so passionate about taking care of us. He makes us feel like we’re on a team together with our doctor. I had some really bad experience with medical professionals beforehand, and I had a lot of trouble trusting doctors. Dr. Wolfe has been so patient with me, and I feel so at ease when I go in there.”
By 2015, Emma had switched all of her doctors over to Allegheny Health Network, and started working with father and son surgeons Dr. Joseph Falcon and Dr. Christopher Falcon, who performed a series of surgeries to transition her top and her face. Since then, she’s continued to see advancements in how AHN cares for its transgender patients.
“They keep getting better. Every time I go back to the doctor, I say ‘wow.’ They’re just light years ahead of everybody else.”