Morning Medical Update Tuesday 5-23-23

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 18 COVID patients today, same as yesterday. Other significant numbers:

•           5 with the active virus today, 6 yesterday

•           0 in ICU, 0 yesterday

•           0 on a ventilator, 0 yesterday

Key points from today’s guests:

Sophie Hegeman, vice president of operations for Be the Match, University of Kansas

  • When a KU freshman learned his leukemia returned, volunteers at the university's Be The Match organization jumped into action.
  • They raised awareness and motivated people to sign up on the registry.
  • They've made huge strides with more than 3,000 new registries and 11 matches in one semester. That's more than any other college campus.
  • That freshman now has a donor as well.

Dana Wright, Sophie’s mother and KMBZ radio host

  • She is so proud of the young adults who want to do something to help when they hear that someone is sick -- whether they know that person or not.
  • As a radio host, she has used her platform to encourage swabbing at donor registry events.
  • Organ donation has been a big part of her life and she encourages others to sign up to be an organ donor.

Dr. Leyla Shune, hematologist & medical oncologist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • These efforts are so valuable because the registry as it stands today is primarily made of Caucasian people and that's good because when we have a Caucasian patient, the chance of a match is upwards of 70 percent, which is excellent.
  • Unfortunately, people of minority groups are not as well represented because the word is not out. And the likelihood of finding a donor if you're of African American descent, is more difficult because the registry is less than 30 percent.
  • We want to have more donors available for all our patients so the diversity you find on college campuses actually makes a difference.
  • Testing will be done for the donor to help protect the donor. Transplant recipient targets are those who are healthy enough to receive the donor transplant and succeed.
  • CAR-T has a proven track record with childhood leukemia. Bone marrow transplant is the ultimate CAR-T – it is a living gift.

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

  • All the variants being seen are lineages of Omicron.
  • Low COVID numbers are expected for the next few weeks.
  • We will continue to monitor for new variants or spikes in cases.

Wednesday, May 24 at 8 a.m. is the next Open Mics with Dr. Stites. Learn how The University of Kansas Health System is improving healthcare for rural Kansans and how overall healthcare needs are changing for rural America.

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