Morning Medical Update Friday 10-21-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 35 COVID patients today, down from 40 yesterday. Other significant numbers:

  • 17 with the active virus today, same as yesterday
  • 2 in ICU, 1 yesterday
  • 2 on a ventilator, 1 yesterday
  • 18 hospitalized but out of acute infection phase, 23 yesterday 

Key points from today’s guests:

Marjorie “Margie” Harper, cancer patient

  • In 2019, she was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) -- a rare blood cancer.
  • She started treatment at a hospital near her home in New Orleans, but doctors there told her that she was too high risk for a much-needed stem cell transplant.
  • Margie didn't like that answer, so she and her sister, Tina, went in search of a second opinion and she found it with Dr. McGuirk at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
  • She said she didn't ask enough questions at her first healthcare provider. And when she did, they said she didn't need to know or wouldn’t explain it to her.
  • She believes you need to get a better explanation or seek that second opinion, immediately.
  • Margie is doing great now and traveling across the country on road trips “living her life” – which is something she wasn’t sure she could do before.

Tina Reynolds, Margie’s sister

  • Tina said she knew that they couldn't give up without a second opinion and she was familiar with The University of Kansas Cancer Center, because they treated their mother.
  • The first meeting with Dr. McGuirk brought back their hope and they knew that they had a chance.
  • After bringing to Margie to her home in Kansas City, instead of being in hospice, she started to do so much better.
  • “When it's a family member and they're not able to this to look for their own answers, you have to become their advocate and do your research. There's so much out there. Just don't give up. I think knowledge is power and just ask your questions and do your research and be the coach.”

Dr. Joseph McGuirk, director of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapies, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • Margie’s sister came to her rescue. Tina came to Dr. McGuirk and suggested some treatment she researched – which was a fit for Margie as she was one of the small percentage of patients who would go into a complete cancer remission with this drug. It cleared the way for a potentially life-saving stem cell transplant.
  • Having a family advocate is profoundly meaningful and Dr. McGuirk hopes every family has someone like Tina -- by her side throughout this entire journey, did her homework, searched for answers -- and was absolutely a lifesaver.
  • It is extraordinarily rare for someone to have gone to hospice, and then come out of hospice and receive a therapy, respond to that therapy in the way that Margie did and go into complete remission. And then to get to a stem cell transplant -- this is an extraordinarily rare story
  • Dr. McGuirk said they turn over every stone to help patients who come from around the country to the Cancer Center for help.
  • “I don't think there's ever a downside to getting a second opinion. And if a healthcare provider pushes back against that, then all the more reason you should get a second opinion. It's critically important for patients with life threatening illness, for which there are highly effective therapies -- potentially curative therapies. Everything is at stake.”

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • With the FDA approval of the Novavax monovalent COVID-19 booster, this is great news because it provides another option.
  • There are people who were hesitant to take the primary series and then the additional doses. This continues to be another solution that we can use, and you can use to protect your health and help decrease your chance of hospitalization and those other complications as well.
  • Novavax is being used around the world extensively -- more than here in the United States.
  • Again, we know that the mRNA vaccines are safe and effective. This is one more safe and effective vaccine that we can use that you can use to help provide yourself protection.
  • We know children can have severe outcomes from COVID, although at the proportions less than adults and older children, but we know they can. More importantly, we know they can also suffer from long COVID as well. We are thankful that children do seem to be less affected in compared to adults and older people, but they can still have those severe outcomes.

Monday, October 24 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update, where doctors will discuss new options to battle lymphedema – which impacts 30 percent of breast cancer patients.

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