Open Mics With Doctor Stites 11-17-21

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Jill Chadwick

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Cell: (913) 223-3974


The University of Kansas Health System reports slightly lower COVID patient numbers today. 18 with the active virus are being treated, down from 21 yesterday. Only four of them are vaccinated. Nine of those 18 patients are in the ICU, up from seven yesterday. Four are on ventilators, the same as yesterday. 19 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID but are out of the acute infection phase, down from 24 yesterday. That’s a total of 37 patients, down from 45 yesterday. HaysMed reports 16 total patients, up from 15 yesterday. Doctors showed the number of cases of COVID in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people. The unvaccinated are six times as likely to get infected. They are 12 times as likely to be hospitalized and die. The doctors are concerned by recent numbers trending higher all across the country. They warn as masks come off and another surge comes our way, the half of our population not vaccinated is at risk.

            On today’s Open Mics With Dr. Stites, the intersection of faith and science is a common phrase heard on this show throughout this pandemic and it took center stage today. Dr. Koji Ebersole, director of Endovascular Neurosurgery at The University of Kansas Health System and Dr Alan Reeves, an interventional radiologist, joined to talk about one of their patients who made what can only be described as a miraculous recovery from a brain aneurysm.

            Dr. Ebersole said there is no doubt that COVID causes strokes. He says, “This has been a big ordeal for us. Stroke is a very severe manifestation of this disease.” Many patients delayed earlier preventive treatment because of the pandemic which has led to a huge rise in the number of stroke patients. He also emphasized that the vaccine definitely does not cause strokes.

            His colleague, Dr. Reeves, says the 24/7 demand for services had led to the need for a third biplane room, which is coming. This room contains a specialized, very powerful X-ray, and he says patients are fortunate to have access to such top of the line equipment to treat strokes, as well as the skilled staff to use it.

            One of their patients, Chris Graham, has what can only be described as a miraculous story, involving an aneurysm which almost cost his life. Here’s his amazing story.

            Dr. Ebersole says this about Chris’ unbelievable recovery. “I can explain it scientifically. But I’m perfectly fine calling it a miracle.” He notes that most aneurysms don’t cause any symptoms and as many as ten million people have them and will live their whole lives with it not needing medical attention. But it’s those that develop a problem which can become life-threatening. Dr. Reeves describes an aneurysm as a “giant cork” in the brain, and says the changes in technology and knowledge in the last decade has been remarkable, allowing them to treat more people safely.

Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, says this is now a pandemic of two populations, the vaccinated and the vaccinated, and will impact the unvaccinated much more. He says it will likely be with us for a long time and the best way we can live with it is to stop people from getting severely ill and having to be hospitalized. Any time you get the virus, he says, you are rolling the dice and risking long term complications.

            Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System, thinks Thanksgiving will be safe if you wear a mask around those who are not vaccinated. He calls the potential of a pill to treat COVID symptoms early a game changer and noted the trial was stopped early because it worked so well. He thinks vaccination, masking and use of these treatments when approved will be the way out of the pandemic. But he says we have to trust the science, especially now that numbers are rising again.

            Thursday, November 18 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. You've taking the collagen powder, you use the jade roller, you've even changed your pillowcase, but is it really working or are you just throwing money down the toilet? You may be surprised as we break down some common beauty myths for both women and men.

NOTE:  Journalists should rejoin the Morning Medical Update at 8am as doctors are growing too busy again for individual interview requests.  Please bring questions or send to until further notice.  Thanks for all you do and helping to keep the community safe with your reporting.

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