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The Rounds

Medical Staff News 
COVID-19 Vaccinations
Per Harris Health policy and as stewards of the health of our staff and community, all employees and workforce members, including medical staff, advanced practice professionals, trainees and students, must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption on file by Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. To be fully vaccinated, you must have received both doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the J&J vaccine by this date. BCM and UTHealth workforce members can obtain the vaccine at their institution’s Occupational Health, a retail pharmacy, or any of our ACS clinics as a patient. Applications for exemptions must be submitted by Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.

You may submit your COVID vaccine documentation or exemption application to:
A High Reliability Organization Principle
 Sensitivity to operations encompasses more than checks of patient identity, vital signs, and medications. It includes awareness by staff, supervisors, and management of broader issues that can affect patient care, ranging from how long a person has been on duty, to the availability of needed supplies, to potential distractions.

Please review the attached Epic helpful tips guide to learn about electronic prescriptions for controlled substances (EPCS), adding items to your personal dictionary, and how to clean up your in-basket by postponing messages.

Research Spotlight
UTHealth Departments of Anesthesia and Emergency Medicine Studying Cardiopulmonary and Neurologic Problems in Long Haul COVID-19 Patients

By Dr. Bentley Bobrow, chair, UTHealth Emergency Medicine

While most patients recover from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) infection, a dramatically high proportion of COVID-19-survivors continue to experience myriad symptoms beyond the usual recovery time and a minority of patients may be disproportionately impacted. These residual symptoms, called post-acute sequelae, are reported in different organ systems including the lungs, heart, kidney, liver, and central nervous system, and can adversely impact overall quality of life for many months and possibly even permanently. Several studies indicate that up to 40% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia go on to experience long-term difficulty breathing. Another recent study showed that 6 months after acute infection, COVID-19 survivors continued to also experience impairment in myocardial and renal function as well as prolonged severe fatigue, muscle weakness, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression. The UTHealth COVID-19 ARDS Research Team lead by Dr. Holger Eltschig’s basic science research lab and The Texas Emergency Medicine Research Center’s translational research team are now studying the long-term impact of COVID-19 and specifically the potential effect of the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) medication Vadadustat on organ injury and overall recovery. This long-term study will follow COVID-19 survivors for 2 years and conduct echocardiograms, pulmonary function tests, biomarkers, and quality of life surveys on subjects to better understand COVID-19 and how to help people fully recover and minimize morbidity for everyone. To date, the primary randomized study has enrolled approximately 410 patients at four Memorial Hermann Hospitals and Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital and the long-term follow-up study has a goal of completing 105 enrollments. 

Physician Kudos
Ben Taub Hospital
“Yes, I am extremely grateful for the whole staff at the hospital, especially Dr. George R. Parkerson. He saved my life and really has been an angel. He went above and beyond in caring for me. Please keep up the good work that you all do because you are saving a lot of lives.” – BT 6A Patient

Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital
“The nurses always kept me feeling calm and answered any questions I asked. Dr. Stephen Huff is a wonderful doctor – he made me feel safe and confident. I contribute my feeling better to him – after changing some of my meds. Thank you!” – LBJ 2B Patient

El Franco Lee Health Center
“Everything went well with my appointment with Dr. Afroz Shamim in the Psychiatry Department is a very excellent doctor. She's very helpful, understanding and compassionate. She addresses your needs and has an excellent bedside manner. Dr. Shamim in the psychiatry department is a great doctor, and goes above and beyond her call of duty. Thank you!” – El Franco Lee Patient