Mommy Minute: Virtual doctor visits boom, but sometimes in-person diagnosis is necessary

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With concerns about exposure to the Coronavirus, the last place many parents might want to go is a doctor’s office. Tele-medicine visits have been a go-to option for parents who want to maintain social distance.

Dr. Joan Thode of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Roseville Pediatrics says she is now doing about 50 to 60 percent of her sick visits virtually. In the beginning of the pandemic, that number was up to 80 percent as families tried to shelter in place and limit exposure.

Thode says tele-medicine can be a great option, especially for follow-ups, to make sure a medication is working or a child’s condition is improving. It’s also helpful for behavioral or mental health visits because it allows a child to remain in the comfort of their own home.

But, like anything, virtual visits are not perfect and Thode hopes parents remember that. If a tele-medicine visit starts and she realizes she needs to see the patient in person, Thode hopes parents will respect her decision and defer to her training.

“I had, for instance, a mom last week call in for seasonal allergy symptoms,” Thode said. “When she was describing the cough and describing the symptoms, I started getting a little bit nervous that this might be a little more respiratory than just post-nasal drip from allergy-related runny nose. So I ended up having her come to the office and the kid ended up having pneumonia.”

Thode added that she could not have diagnosed pneumonia during a virtual visit.

Thode says sometimes a child might have an illness that supercedes the slight risk of contracting Covid-19, including appendicitis. She says in those situations, trust the doctor if they insist on seeing your child in person.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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