(as originally aired on CBS Baltimore)
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — As Maryland continues to reopen, more people will feel comfortable visiting the doctor’s office for their regular checkups.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Sonny Goel in Towson has been preparing for this moment, knowing it’s not simply providing medical care, but also about making his patients feel as safe at his office and comfortable with him as their doctor. He’s now creating new safety protocols at his office in order to do so.
Office visits for his patients involve calling ahead and checking in from the parking lot.
“That’s our new waiting room,” Dr. Goel said.
Patients are required to wear their face masks, a temperature check is administered and some COVID-19 related questions are asked, all before you walk through the front door.
The waiting rooms are empty, and all the magazines have been removed. Acrylic barriers and face shields have also been installed.
But Doctor Goel is aware this could impact his patient/doctor relationship.
“Wearing the face masks and not being able to touch anyone takes the humanity out of medicine,” he said.
It’s why he meets virtually with each patient and without a mask so they can build a rapport with one another.
But safety comes first. His technicians sterilize each exam room after every patient visit and no more than two patients are allowed in the office at one time.
“I want to keep my staff and their family and my patients and myself and my family safe,” he said.