As COVID-19 continues to spread, physicians have had to make modifications in the way they see and treat patients.
Members of Michael Garron’s department of ophthalmology, the leading community-based provider of eye care in the greater Toronto area, have committed to seeing urgent and emergent patients, when possible, at their offsite offices in order to divert patients from the emergency department.
For the ophthalmology team, however, changing the way they examine patients is particularly challenging.
As anyone who has had an eye exam knows, ophthalmologists cannot completely distance themselves from patients.
“We use a slit lamp (a microscope with a bright light) to examine patient’s eyes and this means we are in close proximity to patients – about 6-8 inches away,” says ophthalmologist Dr. Dayle Sigesmund, “so our need for personal protective equipment is particularly crucial.”
Unfortunately, personal protective equipment (PPE) is in short supply and due to the precise nature of their work, the ophthalmology team is unable to use the cumbersome safety goggles recommended for other medical professionals.
Dr. Sigesmund recently looked to businesses like Home Depot to source safety goggles that would meet these unique needs. When Cheryl Papageorgiou, assistant store manager at Home Depot in Leaside, realized the need for this type of equipment, she generously donated enough pairs to outfit the entire ophthalmology team, as well as some extras for emergency cases that will still need to be seen and treated at the hospital.
“In this time of need, we felt that if there was anything we can do to support the frontline workers it would be a great honour”, explains Rui Martins, store manager.
“It was the least we could do as my daughter and all three of my grandchildren were born at Michael Garron Hospital. One of my grandchildren was an ophthalmology patient and the twins were graduates of the special care nursery at the hospital," says Cheryl. "So we were so happy to be able to give back!"
Says Dr. Charlotte Wedge, staff ophthalmologist and East Toronto resident, “This is a wonderful example of how our community is coming together to fight COVID-19.”