The Next Normal: Visit to the pediatrician

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Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 10:56 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Waiting rooms filled with families or walk-in appointments are a distant memory at the Children’s Clinic of Lufkin.

“We had to make big changes in a really rapid manner,” said Dr. Jeff Glass, M.D. and owner Children’s Clinic of Lufkin. “We’d been working on telemedicine for some time and had an application that we had considered using, and so when this all hit, within 24 hours, we switched all of our sick visits to telemedicine.”

Glass said telemedicine has worked, but it’s not the ideal way to see patients, especially children. So their clinic has split their days into two parts for in-person visits.

“In the mornings we see kids who are well, we see kids who have things that aren’t considered contagious,” Glass said. “And then in the afternoon, that’s when we see our patients who have symptoms that could be related to COVID.”

Those who come for well visits get screened at the door. This includes temperature checks and a series of questions about possible symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. For patients who come for a sick visit, “We have our staff call the patients beforehand and get all their historical information. We ask the parent to check their temperature, check their weight so we have all the information we need,” Glass said. “So once the patient is here at the clinic and being shepherded to their room, their chart is put on the door and it’s already ready for us.”

Glass said that everyone above the age of two who enters their building has to wear a mask. And for the doctors who are seeing sick patients, “Now that we have patients coming in person for these sick visits, we have to wear our full gear,” he said. “So we wear an N95, we wear a mask over that. A surgical mask over that to protect the N95 because they’re so precious. We wear a face shield, and we wear a gown, and gloves.”

Glass said that patients who come in the afternoon receive a text when they arrive and are escorted directly to a room to reduce the amount of exposure to their staff and other parts of the building.

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