The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many non-coronavirus patients out of doctor’s offices, hesitant to seek care. Others, desperate for treatment have struggled with access to the healthcare they need. Here is a unique story from AA&A physician Dr. David Carlton about a family from New Hampshire that last month found their way to Georgia during the crisis seeking help for their child.
Recently, a family flew from New Hampshire with their 13-month-old child to see me for allergy skin testing and prescriptions.
Their child has eczema and food allergy to milk and peanuts. He had been scheduled to go to Boston in April, but his appointment with an allergist was canceled due to COVID-19 and his appointment was moved to September. The local allergist in their community in New Hampshire was not taking new patients due to COVID and could not say when the office would reopen. They were administering allergy shots in their parking lot and not seeing any patients in the office.
The mom heard on the national news in late April that Georgia was opening and somehow got connected to my office. I did an initial TeleVisit and made some eczema care recommendations. Given the risk of travel in this time of COVID-19, I tried to discourage the family to travel to see me for skin testing, but mom would not be dissuaded. A testing appointment was scheduled, and the family flew to Atlanta and drove to our office. I tested the child and he was markedly positive to milk and peanut and dog dander.
The family agreed to follow up with their care providers in New Hampshire instead of flying back to Georgia. They were grateful I was seeing patients in the office and would see their child when no one in their geographic area would. I ordered oral and topical steroids for his severe eczema flare and an Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injector and sent the notes to his Pediatrician in Milford, NH.
There is a crying need for medical care as folks try to cope with this pandemic. COVID-19 has disrupted not only acute care for urgent situations such as appendicitis or heart attacks that are endured at home, but also has delayed routine and chronic care for food allergy, eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis.
I am proud that we have remained available to deliver care to patients in need during this public health crisis.
David Carlton, MD
Allergist, Atlanta Allergy & Asthma/Rome