Class of 1983
Dr. Tim Welby is a Prep Graduate, Prep Parent and Board member. We asked him to talk with us about the challenges of living and practicing pediatrics in a time of pandemic.
What has changed in your medical practice?
The COVID 19 pandemic has drastically changed how we practice pediatrics in our office. From varying levels of PPE to the routine use of telehealth “video visits” for sick patients and recheck appointments, we’ve changed almost everything we do for our staff and patients. We’ve had to screen families prior to well visits for signs of infection or COVID 19 exposure. We limit the number of family members who can accompany a child to the office and we’ve largely eliminated our waiting room. We’ve gone so far as to do “parking lot checks” for smaller children with ear pain and we also do strep tests in the parking lot to keep healthy and sick children separated.
How are NEPA’s vulnerable populations impacted?
One of the most difficult aspects of the pandemic is that the underserved population of NEPA, who, because of socioeconomic disadvantages may not have a medical home, have been hit hard. These families often don’t have a doctor to call when they have concerns about their children or questions about how a mildly ill potentially COVID infected child might affect elderly relatives in the family. As we’ve come to find out, older patients, and those with poorly controlled heath issues fare worse with Coronavirus, and if you haven’t been able to have access to quality care you’re at much higher risk for a poor outcome if you get infected.
What gives you hope and joy in this difficult time?
As difficult as the last few months have been, there are some rays of hope and joy. Seeing the resiliency of even our youngest patients as they enter the office with little masks on but filled with bravery and typical childhood energy helps me to keep focused on the idea that adaptability in the face of adversity will help us all get through this pandemic. Every time I talk to a child or adolescent that is struggling with online learning because they miss their fellow classmates and teachers, I realize how important the right school setting is for our children. It’s been really heartening to see how Prep’s Jesuit education and ideals have been helping students and families navigate through a challenging time.