Morning Medical Update Thursday 5-11-23

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 23 COVID patients today, 27 yesterday. Other significant numbers:

  • 9 with the active virus today, 11 yesterday
  • 2 in ICU, 1 yesterday
  • 0 on a ventilator, 0 yesterday

Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Douglas Burton, glioblastoma patient and orthopedic surgeon, The University of Kansas Health System

  • A renowned spinal surgeon at the University of Kansas Health System and across the nation, Dr. Burton was diagnosed with glioblastoma – an aggressive and deadly brain cancer – four months ago. 
  • The National Brain Tumor Society puts the median survival length at 5 months. Some patients live longer, but around 93 percent do not survive past five years.
  • Dr. Burton reported headaches and got them checked out a few months later. He underwent brain surgery in January after being diagnosed with cancer.
  • The surgery included a gross total resection of the tumor, and the post operative course included chemo and radiation, which is considered the standard treatment.
  • Glioblastoma is the most common primary brain malignancy with about 13,000 diagnoses a year. It is considered fairly rare compared to other cancers.
  • With this particular cancer, doctors can’t remove all of it because it is so intertwined with the brain.
  • Dr. Burton is so grateful for the support of his family, friends and co-workers. He is still seeing patients at the health system because this is what he wants to be doing.
  • He has a very positive attitude and takes life day-by-day to live his life to the fullest.
  • Dr. Burton credits nurses, especially nurse navigators, for guiding patients and their families along these difficult journeys.

Meredith Paulette, RN, nurse navigator, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • With a terminal diagnosis, Meredith is happy to be there to listen to patients and meet them “where they are,” while informing them of the care plans.
  • It is tremendously helpful for patients and families to know what to expect and to let them know they’re in the hands of a great medical team.
  • Every patient situation is unique, so she wants to validate their feelings and continue to provide resources wherever they need them.
  • Patients should lean into family, friends and staff who want to provide support for them.

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

  • The Kansas Department of Health reported a cluster of tuberculosis cases they say presents a minimal risk to the public.
  • They are doing this to be transparent. We know that active tuberculosis cases are increasing in the United States. In 2022, there were somewhere between 8,000 and 8,300 cases, which is up from 7,800 cases the year before.
  • It is generally more difficult to get infected with tuberculosis compared to COVID.
  • There are two major forms. Latent tuberculosis means you've been exposed to the bacteria, but you are not contagious and don't have disease from it. Active tuberculosis means you have the disease, requiring treatment. This is followed by contact tracing so we can slow or stop further active cases. Transmission rates are minimal.
  • It can become a problem if it gets to places where a lot of people congregate such as prisons, homeless shelter or even dormitories.

Friday, May 12 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. A 5-year-old developed yellow bumps on her skin, and doctors accused her mother of not bathing her enough. The power of a second opinion discovered the real cause: a rare severe genetic problem requiring a lifesaving treatment.

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