Morning Medical Update Friday 3-10-23

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 50 COVID patients today, 58 Thursday. Other significant numbers:

  • 25 with the active virus today, 30 Thursday
  • 5 in ICU, 4 Thursday
  • 2 on a ventilator, 2 Thursday

Key points from today’s guests:

Morning Rounds – Roundup of Current News

Dr. Jessica Kalender-Rich, geriatric medicine specialist, The University of Kansas Health System

  • With the recent news of 81-year-old Senator Mitch McConnell falling and being hospitalized, it brings up the topic of geriatric falls.
  • We know that of people over the age of 65, more than a quarter of those people will actually have a fall each year.
  • But only five to 10 percent of those falls actually result in hospitalization for major injuries like fracture, head trauma, or a major laceration.
  • For a large majority of people, as we age, our balance and steadiness get worse, which puts us at higher risk of falls and that is typically related to reduced strength and stability.

Focus Topic

Louise Krug, facial paralysis patient

  • When she was 22, she had a cavernous angioma which is like a raspberry in the part of her brainstem.
  • To get to it, surgeons had to disturb some of the stuff in the way which was among other things, a cranial nerve set which eventually controls your facial nerves.
  • Now age 40, she underwent a surgery with Dr. John Flynn to improve her condition.
  • Louise is doing well, but it takes about six months before we know the final results since nerves take longer to recover and grow.
  • She says it is important to learn why facial paralysis happens and how we can treat it.

Dr. John Flynn, facial surgeon, The University of Kansas Health System

  • There are two types of facial paralysis. Flaccid facial paralysis is what we all very commonly think of when we think of somebody with facial paralysis -- they can't smile, the corner of the mouth is droopy, and the eyebrow sags the eye doesn't close all the way.
  • The other type is post-paralytic palsy, the other category that we more frequently see and probably the most common after Bell's Palsy.
  • In long standing facial paralysis, the muscles of the face actually lose their ability to function and move. And so in those instances, doing a nerve transfer procedure won't help them because the muscles don't work. So new treatment includes taking a muscle from the leg and doing a muscle transplant.
  • Many patients with facial palsy have difficulty breathing through the nose, so we are using rhinoplasty techniques to help improve breathing.
  • When a patient has an acute episode of facial paralysis, it really it makes them feel like they've lost their identity -- so, it affects them physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.

Kacey Blair, registered nurse, The University of Kansas Health System

  • With the complexities of healthcare, it's really important that we view patients holistically and make sure that we're caring for patients as human beings.
  • Kacey formerly worked in cancer care and there is a lot of overlap between cancer care and facial paralysis in caring for patients to provide comprehensive treatment.
  • Thanks Louise for sharing part of her story about how the facial paralysis practice has helped her and can help others.

COVID Updates

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • He is monitoring the H5N1 (bird flu) situation.
  • There is talk of vaccinating chickens against H5N1, which could reduce the potential spillover of infections to humans.
  • We know that there have been a few a handful of human cases of H5N1 and all of those cases of humans getting the infection have worked closely with those birds.

Monday, March 13 is the next Morning Medical Update. An expert panel of neurologists helps us understand how the brain functions and how training your brain can help battle addictions.

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