When I first met Jerry Sherman, back in 1991 at the start of my career, he was already a legendary diagnostician and a role model for the next generation of ODs. A prolific writer, his contributions were a staple of this publication. For a time, he actually wrote three monthly columns for Review simultaneously: Retina Quiz, Malpractice Quiz and Visual Field Quiz. Only Retina Quiz remains (more on that in a minute), while the other two eventually ran their course and were discontinued.
More than anything else, the responsibility at the heart of all three of those columns was the crucial skill of disease diagnosis. So, I’m excited to use our annual Diagnostic Skills & Techniques issue to announce the launch of a new column to be written by Dr. Sherman along with another SUNY faculty superstar, Sherry Bass. These two esteemed educators will be unpacking the arguments for malpractice claims—whether spurious, warranted or somewhere in between—in a new monthly department called You Be The Judge. The goal is to put the reader into the exam room while a tricky case unfolds and ask each of you whether you believe the proper course of action was followed by the doctor(s).
Drs. Sherman and Bass have a combined 94 years—yes, you read that right—of experience on the faculty at SUNY and as fixtures in wider world of optometry. Their insights into vulnerabilities in the care a doctor provides that might expose someone to a malpractice claim are simply invaluable. The cases they’ll use as teaching examples will naturally tend toward situations with high stakes, sometimes with catastrophic outcomes, as with the debut column this month.
Fortunately, most day-to-day optometric care isn’t such a high-wire act as all that, but still the mandate to nail the diagnosis remains. To help readers brush up on simple workaday exam techniques, our cover story provides a grab-bag of ideas and tips to help you make the most out of a relatively brief visit that needs to cover a lot of ground efficiently. In a similar vein, the first feature in the series digs deep into the nuances of eliciting good, actionable information in the case history.
The remaining features in the diagnostic theme cover the frustrating logistics of adding bloodwork and neuroimaging to your practice, challenges inherent in keratoconus diagnosis and related topics, and a CE course on the panoply of pupil disorders. We hope you enjoy this year’s line-up.
Back to the long-running Retina Quiz column Dr. Sherman launched decades ago: his successor, the brilliant Mark Dunbar of Bascom Palmer, will be transitioning the column this year to a protege of his, Rami Aboumourad. Just a few years into his career, Dr. Aboumourad has distinguished himself at Bascom Palmer for his deep understanding of retinal pathophysiology.
This month also sees Jessica Steen’s debut in writing the Therapeutic Review column, as her former mentor Joseph Sowka also begins to pass the baton. It’s heartening to see several generations of keen intellects—the stewards of optometry’s past, present and future place in the world—come together under one roof to help the profession fill in its gaps and move forward, one diagnosis at a time.