Our Patients. Their Stories. Robert Keil
It must be in the culture at Concord. They smile and treat everyone with kindness.Robert Keil
Growing up in New York’s Hudson River Valley, Robert Keil spent much of his time in the summer working the hay fields on his family’s farm. “Without a shirt on,” he says.
And later, he adds, “I worked construction all through college. Without a shirt.”
These were the days before public awareness of the sun’s harmful rays and the importance of wearing protective sunscreen, when the accepted wisdom said, according to Keil, “the darker the tan, the better you were doing.”
Keil completed a 39-year career in teaching, both in a high school and, for the last 16 years, as a vocational building and trades instructor in youth services for the state of New Hampshire. With his wife, they raised three children in Hancock, NH, where he kept active on his own home improvements. His only health issues were needing to have both knees replaced and both shoulders repaired, which he chalks up to the “wear and tear” of construction work.
But somewhere along the line his doctor discovered a spot on his chest, which they agreed to keep an eye on to see if it changed. “We finally decided, after many years of just looking at it, to get it checked out,” he says. In April 2017, his doctor referred him to Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) in Concord for a biopsy.
“I’ve lost some friends recently to melanoma,” Keil says, “so I knew that I should get rid of it as soon as possible.”
From his first phone conversation with receptionist Amy Wiles, Keil describes his interactions with the doctors and staff at D-H Concord as “nothing but a positive, delightful experience.” Peter Sands, MD, in Dermatology, performed a biopsy, and by the end of the week Sands had removed what turned out to be melanoma, a type of skin cancer, on Keil’s chest.
Keil can’t say enough about the pleasure of being a patient at D-H Concord. From Sands to the medical assistants in Dermatology, Miranda Hoesch, CMA (AAMA) and Anne-Marie Collins, CCMA, as Keil says, “It was all smiles, all the time.”
He adds, “It must be in the culture at Concord. They all have wonderful attitudes and smile and treat everyone with kindness. I’ve been to too many places that are not that positive.”
The incision took twelve days to heal, and Keil returned to D-H Concord to have the stitches removed. “In a matter of weeks, beginning with the phone call with the receptionist, I got rid of something scary that I didn’t know anything about,” he says.
That he can return worry-free to his retirement—and to the occasional odd job for a friend or neighbor—is a testament to his providers at D-H Concord. “They deserve all the credit for how they make people feel,” he says. “I will recommend everyone to go to D-H Concord for their care.”