Dr. Stoessel has an extraordinary and well-deserved reputation for clinical excellence and public service that makes her an outstanding recipient of this award. Dr. Stoessel has been named to the list of “Best Doctors in America” List in Connecticut Magazine, consistently and on a recurring annual basis. Importantly, she is a recognized regional and national expert in retinopathy of prematurity and non-accidental head trauma in infants. In ROP, she has been the “go to” physician statewide for the management of premature infants with a high risk of developing retinal disease. For several decades, Dr. Stoessel has taken care of countless infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Dr. Stoessel has devoted her life to the care of these challenging infants, who are often a few hundred grams in weight and have a multitude of medical problems. For many years she would screen and treat these babies alone, including during her own vacation time so that there was no lapse in coverage.
In addition, Dr. Stoessel has the difficult and challenging task of screening the eyes of infants for battered baby syndrome. She absorbs the stress associated with this and keeps moving forward without complaints, despite the fact that this truly is a challenging task. She inserts herself, as she should and must, between her innocent victims and the potential perpetrators, who are often the parents and guardians of these infants. She does this with little regard for her own time and risk, and solely for the purpose of protecting the most vulnerable children amongst us.
In addition to her clinical activities, she is involved and leads the program in both inpatient and outpatient clinical care teaching and supervision of retina fellows, ophthalmology residents and medical students. As retina fellowship director, she has organized a retina fellows conference twice a month with retina faculty, fellows, ophthalmology residents and medical students.
In summary, Dr. Stoessel is the consummate clinician and faculty member whose net worth to the institution far exceeds anything measurable by RVUs alone. She has devoted herself to care for vulnerable patients who need our care the most. On a personal level, it would be difficult to overestimate her value as a role model, physician, and provider of care for those in need. We are so proud of her achievements in our department and so proud of the recognition that she has received with this award.