Morning Medical Update Monday 2-13-23

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 49 COVID patients today, 45 Friday. Other significant numbers:

  •  27 with the active virus today, 22 Friday
  •  5 in ICU, 5 Friday
  •  2 on a ventilator, 2 Friday

Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Ed Ellerbeck, medical director, UKanQuit

  • UKcanQuit is a program to help patients stop smoking. It started in 2006, treating about 700 patients and has grown to treating more than 2,000 patients annually and more than 23,000 since its inception.
  • Many hospitals aren't routinely offering smoking cessation right at the bedside for hospitalized patients, but we think it’s a priority here.
  • When you're in the hospital, you may be there for a reason. Many of our patients are there for smoking related reasons -- heart disease or lung disease -- and we can actually talk with them about smoking at a time when they're thinking about this and help them not only quit, but help them prevent future readmissions.
  • About a third of cancers are caused by tobacco use. So if we could eliminate tobacco use, then we'd probably cut out about a third of cancers.

Kimber Richter, Ph. D., clinical director, UKanQuit

  • It's never been easier to quit using tobacco, whether it's smokeless tobacco or cigarettes.
  • Most health insurance plans cover FDA approved quit smoking medications, including five different kinds of nicotine replacement therapy -- some of which people have never even heard about, like the inhaler or the nasal spray.
  • Also, there are many different ways to get support for quitting. If you have any access to any kind of personal therapist, you can work with that person, but there is the tobacco Quitline, wonderful text messaging programs, and the University of Kansas Cancer Center also has its own quit smoking group online group.

Vidya Anantharaman, program coordinator, UKanQuit

  • Research has shown that individuals who are counseled to quit smoking have a better chance of quitting compared to those who might not have received any advice.
  • Creating a quick plan is a key step -- it keeps patients focused and motivated.
  • A plan helps them identify challenges that they may face and ways to overcome it.
    • Pick a stop date. Usually, it's about two weeks that patients prefer because it will give them time to prepare.
    • Let your loved ones know that you are quitting and remove any reminders that might cause cravings.
    • Identify your smoking triggers. By doing this, you can develop ways to deal with them.
    • Develop coping strategies. Nicotine is a chemical that makes you addicted to smoking, so distract yourself by taking deep breaths, going for a walk, listening to music, calling a friend.

Laura McCulloch, tobacco counselor, UKanQuit

  • As far as the patients when they're in the hospital, it can be a really emotional time.
  • Sometimes patients are admitted for an issue directly related to their smoking, so it can be difficult. They may feel like they're being blamed for their condition.
  • But other times they're really motivated to quit because they want to do whatever they can do to begin to feel better.
  • We navigate some of these different emotions that patients are experiencing sensitively compassionately, and we want them to get better so we're there to provide that support.

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

  • It is now official that the CDC has added COVID-19 vaccines to the routine vaccination schedule. We should point out that these are technically recommendations. Businesses still have the final say on whether to require that vaccine.
  • We should think of COVID vaccines as a yearly thing just like the flu shots.
  • Right now, and especially when you take into account people with certain health conditions who may be at higher risk, it’s vitally important to be updated on COVID vaccinations.
  • Moving forward, those recommendations will continue to be evaluated as well.

Tuesday, February 14 is the next Morning Medical Update. We break down the first ever guidelines for treating, not just preventing, childhood obesity.  

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