Morning Medical Update Friday 12-22-23

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Key points from today’s guests:

Abraham and Christine Jacobs, Alexander’s parents

  • Abraham and Christine were faced with an emotional decision when they found out their pregnancy with Alexander included anencephaly, an extreme birth defect with a slim chance of survival.
  • Even though it put Christine’s health at risk, they decided to carry on with the pregnancy so that Alexander could donate his heart valves to other babies in need.
  • Alexander’s gifts saved the lives of four other babies.
  • It was an extremely difficult time, but the couple was strengthened by the support of friends and family.

Dr. Megan Thomas, maternal-fetal medicine fellow, The University of Kansas Health System

  • About one in every 5,000 pregnancies can be affected by anencephaly. Typically it's caused by a folic acid deficiency in pregnancy and that's why prenatal vitamins do have folic acid in them. And that is why a lot of our foods are fortified with folic acid to help prevent this.
  • There are other things that can cause this, but it needs additional studies.
  • Ultimately you want to have a supportive relationship with the patient -- frank conversations, identify what they want. It's not my choice, it's the patient's choice. And then try to find a way to make their wishes come true.

Dr. Noria McCarther, maternal-fetal medicine fellow, The University of Kansas Health System

  • One of the complications with anencephaly is increased amniotic fluid buildup for the mother.
  • We were able to help Christine be more comfortable by draining some of that excess fluid during pregnancy.
  • I’ll never forget Alexander. He is really special.

Dr. Sean Kumer, transplant surgeon, associate chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • This is a pretty rare and incredible story.
  • These heroic actions by this couple and their son saved four young lives.
  • We were prepared in advance for this particular situation, because it takes a lot of coordination to make the successful transplants.
  • Alexander’s other organs were donated for research, which could potentially save even more lives down the road.
  • The heroes with transplants are the donors and the donor families. They're the ones that make this happen. They're the ones that save lives, and they're not here to see it. But they live on in other people whose lives they saved.

COVID Updates

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

  • The COVID inpatient count is 26 this week, a decrease from 33 last week.
  • Get vaccinated if you haven't -- you still have time to do that. Get your updated flu and COVID vaccines. If you are of age for the recommended RSV vaccine, please get your RSV vaccine as well.
  • If you do have symptoms, please test early and if you are positive for COVID, have a plan to talk to your medical provider to get on oral antiviral drugs.
  • It is always okay to wear a mask. We know that masking does even help protect the person that wears that mask from getting infected reduces that risk even if people around them aren't.
  • The one that we continue to promote is good appropriate frequent hand hygiene. Doing this will significantly reduce your chance of getting infection not only from COVID, but other respiratory viruses.

Morning Medical Update will be airing encore episodes until January 8.

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