Dr. Linda Richman received the dreaded phone call from her 4 year-old daughter’s preschool a mere 15 minutes after the 9 AM drop-off by the au pair. “Suzie has conjunctivitis, can you please pick her up.”
Richman, an ophthalmologist that has garnered international recognition for her research on infections of the eye, was surprised to hear this since Suzie was fine at the breakfast table earlier that morning.
“What do you mean? She was fine this morning,” the full university professor asked the preschool administrator, who had become quite confident of the diagnosis. “Ms. Krobopple said she has some crust on her eyelash and now we have to send a letter home with all the students due to the exposure to conjunctivitis.”
Abandoning a clinic full of patients, Dr. Richman, who was still jetlagged from her recent return from Geneva where she was the invited keynote speaker at “The International Congress on Infections of the Eye,” raced to Suzie’s school. Upon her arrival, Suzie sheepishly made her way out of the classroom somewhat concerned that she had unwittingly become a public health risk.
Dr. Richman quickly assessed Suzie’s left eye and noted a distinct lack of conjunctival injection, edema, or drainage. Krobopple quickly offered, “She had a bunch of crust on her eye that now she has wiped off.” Krobopple continued, “Can you please let us know what the pediatrician says so we know if we have to notify the other parents?”
“The pediatrician? I am an eye doctor who specializes in eye infections… I am telling you she 100% does not have conjunctivitis,” an incredulous Dr. Richman offered. Krobopple countered, “That is nice Mrs. Richman, we get a lot of physician-parents in this school. If you could just bring a note back from the Ppediatrician’s office, Suzie could maybe return to school later this week.”
Four hours later, Dr. Richman returned with a note from the nurse practitioner clearing Suzie to return.