Diagnosing left eye retinoblastoma in an uninsured child

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Taking the time to notice an outward gaze in the left eye, this nurse practitioner helped save a child.

  • Colored CT Scan of an 8-Year-Old with Retinoblastoma
  • Retinoblastoma Tumor at Back of Right Eye
  • Characteristic White Dots
  • Multiple Tumors of the Retina
  • Abnomal Malignant Cell Growth
  • Tumor Growing from Retinal Tissue
  • Ophthalmoscopy


Diagnosing left eye retinoblastoma in an uninsured child
Diagnosing left eye retinoblastoma in an uninsured child

A patient aged six-months came into the ED for diaper rash. The family had lapsed on insurance, and the patient had not had any well-child checks or vaccinations.

I noticed the patient had an intermittent left-eye outward gaze. I did a head-to-toe exam and noticed the patient was not able to track with the left eye. I asked her mother about it, and she reported she was told her child would grow out of it.

I checked red light reflex, and it was absent in the left eye. After I did a CT of orbits and brain, I diagnosed the patient with left eye retinoblastoma. She was transferred to Children's Hospital, and the left eye was removed.

I saw the patient years later, when she came into the ED for upper respiratory infection symptoms. She is almost 4 years old now. The patient's mother and I talked about her child's health, and the mother reported that her daughter had stayed cancer free.

The mother told the patient who I was, and the little girl gave me a big hug and said, "Thank you for saving my life."

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