DES MOINES, IA – Answering his phone in a daze at 2 AM last night, on-call ophthalmologist Reece Barnett reportedly handled a vision threatening eye emergency from the comfort of his nice warm bed.
“It was intense,” says Barnett. “At first I was propped up on one elbow when I answered the phone. Then the emergency doc told me the patient had severe vision loss. At that point, I sat straight up in bed with my down comforter only covering my legs. I started getting a chill, but you gotta take these things seriously.”
Barnett was able to listen to the patient’s history in between yawns, occasionally having the consulting doctor repeat things while he rubbed the crust from his eyes. After several seconds of thoughtful consideration, Barnett thought it would be best to see the patient in clinic in the morning.
“This was a tough situation,” reports Barnett. “By the end of the conversation, my sheet was all bunched up and my pillow was flat in all the wrong places.” When asked why he elected to see the patient in the morning, Barnett replied, “By the time I get out of bed, get in my car, drive all the way to the hospital and see the patient, it will only be a few hours until morning anyway. This is the best thing for the patient.”
At press time, Barnett was seen coordinating care for a patient with ocular trauma while wearing his eye mask.