Patient Stories  |  January 10, 2022  | 

Dakota Thomas: Dedicated, Compassionate Care & 3D Mammography Made All the Difference

When you work in healthcare, you often have an extra high expectation of what constitutes exceptional patient care. Most often, you expect to be treated like how you care for your own patients. That was the situation for Dakota Thomas who works in Interventional Radiology (IR) at a large, nationally recognized healthcare system located in the Triangle.

Dakota came to WakeRad UNC REX because she was looking for an outpatient medical imaging practice that offered 3D mammography and because we happened to have an office just down the street from her. Knowing the many reasons to have an annual screening exam, Dakota was still a bit anxious, wishing that having her screening mammogram was something she just didn’t have to do.

“I work in IR every day and my job is to put people at ease, calm their anxieties and make sure they are as comfortable as possible. Since my previous mammogram experiences were less than positive, I wasn’t sure what to expect at Wake Radiology,” said Dakota.

Dakota had also put off having her mammogram because of what she labeled “what if” scenarios.

“Like a lot of women, I would rather just not deal with having a mammogram. What if it hurts, what if something is found, what if I get called back, what if I have breast cancer,” Dakota said. “All of this rolls through your mind. Then, after you finally go get the screening, there’s a waiting period that makes you feel even more nervous. With a lot of practices, you don’t hear your results for what feels like a long time.”

Dakota admits that what she experienced at the WakeRad UNC REX Cary office was more than she expected.

“I was treated wonderful from the minute I walked in to the minute I walked out,” Dakota said. “Everyone in the office was professional and informative, yet unassuming. It was really comforting.”

Dakota needed a diagnostic mammogram due to an abnormality that was detected. Like we try to do for all patients when this happens, our Cary Breast Center staff was able to do her diagnostic exam and provide her results on the same day. She also met with Dr. Danielle Wellman, one of our breast imaging radiologists and Director of Breast Services at WakeRad UNC REX.

“The minute I talked with Dr. Wellman, she simply put me at ease,” said Dakota. “Just like all of the other Wake Radiology staff members who saw me, Dr. Wellman was approachable and made my care her priority.” Luckily, that visit also came with good news. Dakota did not have breast cancer.

Dakota is now committed to educating women about the importance of 3D mammograms.

“I go to my OB/GYN because they specialize in specific care that women need,” said Dakota. “That’s when I realized that I also need to go a practice that specializes in mammography. It’s a disservice to me if I don’t seek out the best 3D technology, a technologist who is certified in mammography, and the expertise of a radiologist who focuses on breast images.”

Dakota continued on why it’s so important for women to pay close attention to where they have their mammogram.

“WakeRad UNC REX offers 3D mammograms and has convenient offices (although I would make the hike for the healthcare provider that I think is the best),”said Dakota. “With their 3D mammograms, you reduce the chance of callbacks and you know that a doctor who is subspecialty trained in breast images will interpret your images. 3D mammograms are covered and paid by most major insurance companies.”

Every day, each person in WakeRad UNC REX’s breast imaging offices strives to provide the best possible patient care. We know that a lot of our patients are like Dakota and that their previous mammograms ended in a poor experience. We’re thankful that our care, dedication and expertise stands out and makes a difference to our patients.

“When you remember an experience, how someone made you feel, how you were put at ease and felt good about the entire event, you know you’re going to go back and you’re going to tell others,” said Dakota. “That’s what I want people to know. WakeRad UNC REX is the best place to have a 3D mammogram and any other breast imaging exam. They will take care of you like you are their own, the exact way you want to be treated.”

We are thankful and grateful to Dakota for candidly sharing her story with us and with women around the Triangle.

All of WakeRad UNC REX’s mammography and breast imaging offices are accredited by the FDA and the American College of Radiology. If you need to have a screening mammogram or any breast imaging exam, please contact our Scheduling Team at 919-232-4700 or request an appointment online.

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