Clark Avenue Connection

Todd Harris, M.D.

Join RCAM and Let’s All Drive Thru The Flu

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

September 28, 2020 – If anyone ever tells you that moving a vaccine clinic outdoors is no big deal, remember these words:

RCAM moved its flu vaccine clinic outdoors this week, and it was a big deal.

Since March, our experience with the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic made clear the need to decrease everyone’s risk – risks to our patients as well as to our staff.

With that goal in mind, we made plans to safely dispense something else that decreases our collective health risk: the flu (influenza) vaccine.

After months of planning, this week saw the very first RCAM Flu Vaccine Drive Thru.

Tireless work from some of our best made this possible. Kudos to Office Manager Brian, Administrative Office Manager Theresa, Head Nurse Amanda, nurses Kathy and Megan, and Dr. Meares.

Some Pictures (and One Video):

↓  This past Saturday was like driving South on Six Forks Road with three lanes going strong

:

↓  Saturday’s three lane clinic crew was all business

↓  Sunday and the one lane setup (Drive thru rule: you can never have too many traffic cones)

↓  Sunday’s crew wanted to prove to Dr. Meares that they could get it all on one cart (Krispy Kreme donuts – sadly – are not an official Flu Vaccine Drive Thru item and therefore were not required to fit on the cart)

↓  A word from our sponsor… (made possible by Emily and an anonymous sidewalk chalk novice)


Ben Meares, M.D.

RCAM Today: Monday Notes

Written by Ben Meares, M.D.

UPDATES: Please Note these RCAM COVID-19 Adjustments

It is Monday, September 28, 2020

This morning we sign off from our answering service at 8:00 am to take phone calls directly from our office.

Today’s Lineup

Dr. Ben Meares is our on call pediatrician today. In addition to typical office duties, our On Call Pediatrician takes calls overnight beginning at 5:00 pm.

  • TeleHealth Visits Online: Dr. Ben Meares is our pediatrician seeing TeleHealth visits today
  • Well Child Care at Duraleigh: Drs. Rick Gessner, Lily Harris, and Jen Long are our pediatricians seeing well patients today at Duraleigh
  • Sick Child Care at Brier Creek: Dr. Jamila Fletcher is our pediatrician seeing sick patients today at Brier Creek (both inside and in our Curbside Clinic)

Important Numbers

  • Urgent calls outside regular hours: 919-781-7490
  • After hours backup number: 919-831-5526
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

Todd Harris, M.D.

September 18, 2020 – There have been so many changes this past year – something should remain the same. Back for its annual appearance to announce the beginning of Flu Vaccination season, this image of a box of flu vaccine from 2015 (one of those years when we never realized just how good we had it).

Unofficial RCAM press release:

Once again, RCAM is here to provide your child’s flu vaccine. New this year: Drive Thru Flu Vaccination Clinics! Due to the COVID pandemic, many of our flu vaccine clinics will be outside. Thanks to our special nurses and front office workers for helping us pull this off! There will still be some indoor clinics, so that will remain an option – particularly for egg-allergic patients. If your child needs a flu shot, please give us a call.”

Some Important Details

  • Flu Vaccine will be given by appointment only (no ‘walk ins’ and no ‘tag alongs’ – everyone getting a Flu Vaccine must have an appointment)
  • Insurance information will be collected over the phone when appointment is being scheduled
  • If your child is sick, we will reschedule their appointment for when they are feeling better
  • Everyone over 3 years old is expected to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose at all times while interacting with our nurses and office staff

New this Year: Outdoor Drive Thru

  • Coronavirus ruins everything – except it may have just taken Flu Vaccine clinic to the next level
  • Drive Thru Flu Vaccine clinic is just what it sounds like: after making your appointment, pull up to our outdoor clinic, get your flu vaccine, and drive off without ever taking off your seat belt
  • Offered at both our Brier Creek office (weekdays generally) and Duraleigh office (weekends)

An Old Classic: Indoor Flu Vaccine Clinic

  • We continue to offer some indoor flu vaccine clinics
  • Like most things we now do, these appointments have been modified to limit your exposures

Still No Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

  • I know some of you are going to be asked this question so I’ll answer it now: we will not be offering the Flumist nasal spray flu vaccine (and I am not sure of anyone offering it in our area)

Very Important: Help Us Safely Administer the Flu Vaccine

  • Be careful with your car in the drive thru clinic – pay attention to signs and to others around you
  • Remain in your car; children should remain in their car seat unless instructed otherwise by one our nurses
  • Dress your children to get the vaccine: that means loose fitting, short pants for children under 12 years or those who prefer to get a shot in their thigh and loose fitting, short sleeved shirts for those 12 and up
  • Also safe is controlling the things we can control: get your child their flu shot, wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice safe physical distancing

Jamila Fletcher, M.D.

RCAM Today: 4th of July Weekend Notes

Written by Jamila Fletcher, M.D.

It’s Labor Day Weekend, September 5, 6, and 7, 2020

  • This Saturday, Sunday, and Monday we will be available by phone and in the RCAM TeleHealth Clinic
  • After 8:00am, our answering service will begin to take messages for the weekend nurse working with the Pediatricians on-call
  • Our nurse will begin returning calls at 9:00am

Newborn Clinic

  • We will plan a morning clinic to follow-up with some of our well infants born over this past week

TeleHealth Visits from Home

  • You can see an RCAM pediatrician via video chat for a TeleHealth visit for a sick visit
  • The RCAM pediatrician will use methods available to them at that time to assess and make recommendations about how best to treat your child
  • There is a charge for using this clinic; typically that charge is covered in some way by your health insurance plan (usually similar to how that plan covers in-person visits)
  • Beyond the TeleHealth Visits, we do not plan to have our typical in-person sick clinic this weekend

The Weekend Line Up

Important Numbers

  • Urgent calls outside regular hours: 919-781-7490
  • After hours backup number: 919-831-5526
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

Todd Harris, M.D.

Labor Day: Official RCAM Holiday

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

September 4, 2020 – Important office holiday schedule alert:

Labor Day is this Monday, September 7, 2020, and it is an official RCAM office holiday.

  • Our office will be officially closed this Monday, September 7, 2020 in observance of the Labor Day holiday
  • Like everyday, one of our pediatricians will be on call to help with your child’s urgent health needs
  • There will be a morning clinic to follow-up with some of our well infants born over this past week
  • On holidays and weekends – due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – sick patients may be scheduled to see our on call Pediatrician for a TeleHealth visit; we will not be able to see sick patients in person

Todd Harris, M.D.

September 3, 2020 – You are beginning to see Flu (Influenza) vaccine being offered in our community in anticipation the 2020-2021 Flu season.

When is the best time to get Flu Vaccine?

My general advice about Flu vaccine is to get it as soon as and wherever you can – whether it is from our office, your local pharmacy, your workplace, etc.

However, in a year like this year when we are not expecting a shortage (that couldn’t happen in 2020, right?), it is probably best to wait until mid-September or October to get it so that you are most likely to still have coverage during the most active time of Flu season.

Flu vaccine lasts about 6 months and Flu illness is typically most active in January, February, and March.

Drive-Thru Flu Vaccine Clinic: Announcement Coming Soon

We are beginning to get some of our supply and will have a formal announcement soon about how we plan to give it to our patients.

COVID-19 impacts everything – as we have all learned – and this will be no exception.

We are currently making preparations for a “Drive-Thru” Flu Vaccine Clinic to minimize potential exposures for our families.

Don’t Call to Schedule a Flu Vaccine Appointment Quite Yet

In the next few weeks, we will post our official announcement about Flu vaccine for the 2020-21 Flu Season.

At that time, we will start scheduling patients.


Jamila Fletcher, M.D.

June 18, 2020 – Our office mourns with our community.

The owners, the pediatricians, the nurses, and the administrative staff of Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine – our entire RCAM-ily – we all mourn.

We grieve the murder of George Floyd and too many other black men and women whose lives have senselessly been taken. We are listening to the voices within our community and to those across the nation who are protesting racial injustice.

We have devoted our careers to caring for children. This is what we believe:

  • Every child deserves to feel safe
  • Every child deserves the chance to thrive and live their best life
  • Every child deserves to be treated fairly and with dignity

We condemn systemic racism and discrimination in all forms. Racial discrimination casts a lifelong shadow that undermines the health and well-being of our children and prevents us from realizing the full promise of our community.

We stand together with our community against racism, fear, and social injustice. We want to stand up for one another to end discrimination. We want to move toward one another to find our common humanity and bring healing. We uphold human dignity for all our families.

How do we talk to our children about race and racism? Here are a few ideas to start the conversation:

Most importantly, our children are listening to and watching you and they are listening to and watching us. Our words and our actions will matter.


Todd Harris, M.D.

UPDATE: Now Scheduling Well Visits for Any Age

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

June 9, 2020 – You may now call and schedule your child’s well visit – previous restrictions on which well visits we can schedule have been removed.

Let’s review where things are now with RCAM Pandemic Mode:

UPDATE: SCHEDULING A VISIT

  • All well visits are scheduled to be seen at our Duraleigh office
    • RECENT CHANGE: Now scheduling well visits for children of any age
  • Medication follow-up visits are scheduled for out Duraleigh office
    • RECENT CHANGE: We are moving these from TeleHealh visits back to in-office visits
    • Examples of this type of visit: ADHD follow-up, Asthma follow-up, follow-up of any condition where our pediatricians are prescribing ongoing medication
  • Any illness – any symptoms that need evaluation: there are 2 ways to initiate an evaluation
    • Option 1: call and speak to one of our nurses
    • Option 2: call and schedule a TeleHealth evaluation with one of our Pediatricians via a video link
    • If further evaluation is needed following one of the above options, the nurse or pediatrician may recommend an in-person visit at the Brier Creek office
      • In person inside the Brier Creek office (illness without typical symptoms of COVID-19)
      • In person outside the Brier Creek office in the Curbside Clinic (typically if symptoms include fever, cough, or shortness of breath)

UPDATE: FOR YOUR SAFETY, THE SAFETY OF OUR STAFF,  AND THE SAFETY OF OTHERS

  1. Wear a Mask: everyone coming inside our office over the age of two years is expected to wear a mask
    • We know there are some situations where wearing a mask is impossible – we understand and that’s okay
  2. Sick individuals may not accompany a visit (no sick siblings; no sick parents; everyone in your party needs to be well)
  3. When possible, only one parent accompany the child being seen
  4. To limit your time / exposure while in our office, call from the parking lot when you arrive – when your room is ready, we will call you to come into the office

Todd Harris, M.D.

UPDATE: Teenage Well Visits

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

May 6, 2020Six weeks ago began “RCAM: Pandemic Mode” as summarized below:

RECAP

  • Only sick patients seen at our Brier Creek office or our Curbside Clinic
  • Only well patients seen at our Duraleigh office
  • We limited our well visit schedule to appointments that were time-sensitive (for example: most newborn care, visits associated with vaccines)
  • Two weeks later we started offering TeleHealth Visits.

We appreciate everyone’s cooperation. Your support of our office during a challenging time has meant a lot.

WE WOULD LIKE TO ADD THE FOLLOWING…

At this time, we will begin to also schedule well visits for all children ages 11 years old and up.

[SIDE NOTE ABOUT SICK VISITS – Sick visits will continue to follow the plan set up in this post from March 22nd – NOW BACK TO WELL VISITS]

These are the well visits we are now scheduling:

  • Any well visit associated with a required vaccine (that includes most well visits under 2 years old and the 4 or 5 year old who need their pre-kindergarten vaccines)
  • Any well visit ages 11 years old and up

ABOUT YOUR WELL VISIT APPOINTMENT

To try and limit exposure to illness for your child and our staff, we will require the following with all well visits:

  1. Sick individuals may not accompany the well check (no sick siblings; no sick parents; everyone in your party needs to be well)
  2. Everyone above the age of two years old needs to wear a mask or face covering when they come to our office (we know it may be a challenge for some, but do the best you can)

Lots of Helpful Information at the CDC Website


Todd Harris, M.D.

April 20, 2020 – This past weekend RCAM lost one of our giants.

Alan Goldman, MD passed away late Friday night after battling an extended illness.

RCAM Pediatrician from 1971 to 2007

I have been lucky to have worked with some talented, good people. Alan most definitely was one of the most talented and one of the best.

He worked as a pediatrician at RCAM for 36 years.

He went to Harvard University for his undergraduate degree. Anyone who knew him found that easy to believe, because he was smarter than the rest of us. You picked up on that because it was obvious, not because he ever flaunted it.

He was an accomplished pediatrician. He was the first pediatrician in Wake County who had specialty neonatology training and helped to advance neonatal intensive care in this area.

Never a Negative Word

Alan had a very pleasant and calm demeanor. I never saw him frazzled, and I never heard him say a bad or even negative word about anyone the entire time I knew him.

I will write that again just to be clear. I never heard him say a bad or even negative word about anyone.

We worked together for 11 years. There was a time when we shared an office. I saw him plenty away from work – typically, it involved some carpentry (one of his many talents).

Never. A. Bad. Word.

He Brought the Party

Alan was fun, and he was almost always working on something that would bring people together for the sake of entertainment.

So many of us have been regaled by something Alan planned: Poker nights, Christmas party games, Super Bowl games, March Madness brackets. The list goes on and on…

I knew Alan to always be preparing for the next gathering where everyone would be entertained by some sort of quiz, riddle, or trying to remember the words to “Good King Wenceslas” (How many Jewish men know all the words to “Good King Wenceslas”? Alan did.).

Our Hearts Are Heavy

Words are difficult at times like this. Alan was truly one of the RCAM greats.

He set a high bar for excellence in skill, attitude, and community.

Alan meant so much to our office, but – alsohe meant so much to so many others.

Our hearts ache for the Goldman family.

UPDATE 4/21/2020: Dr. Goldman’s family wrote a beautiful remembrance that you can find here