Sharing our stories of the compassion, leadership, strength and creativity that has united us during this global epidemic.
Patient care and stories from the front lines
Washington state’s early detection of coronavirus began with Seattle Flu Study Director Dr. Helen Chu, associate professor (Allergy and Infectious Diseases) who is credited with first identifying its presence in Washington. “She’s a true American hero...without her, this epidemic could have been 10 times worse.”
Dr. John Lynch, associate professor (Allergy and Infectious Diseases) shows how Harborview has revamped the ICU, adapted to the influx of new patients, prepared for the surge, and mobilized resources to keep everyone safe and save lives.
UW Medicine has been converting regular ambulatory visits to telehealth visits to not not only serve the rapidly expanding patient population with COVID-19 but also to keep otherwise healthy patients away from the hospital and protect health care providers. Dr. John Scott, associate professor (Allergy and Infectious Diseases) is medical director for digital health.
Dr. Anthony Back, professor (Medical Oncology) crowdsourced a primer via VitalTalk (with J. Randall Curtis, Margaret Isaac, and Susan Merel) to provide advice on how talk about difficult topics related to COVID-19. VitalTalk is dedicated to making communication skills for serious illness part of every clinician’s toolbox.
Meet Geneva Woods, 90, who was discharged from Harborview after beating a life-threatening bout of coronavirus. Dr. Mark Zaros, clinical associate professor (General Internal Medicine) was part of her medical team.
A patient treated by Dr. Margaret Green, clinical assistant professor (Allergy and Infectious Diseases) recovered from the coronavirus after recieving remdesivir, an experimental drug that is currently being tested in clinical trials.
Skilled nursing facilities have been some of the hardest hit by COVID-19. New research findings may help detect and prevent the spread of COVID19 at independent and assisted living communities.
Volunteer teams of UW faculty and staff are testing staff and patients.
Planning for delivery of high-quality palliative care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic represents an important area of need for our healthcare systems. Our palliative care teams (including Drs. J. Randall Curtis, Lianne Hirano, Dan Lam and Darrell Owens) have created a plan to manage the increasing need for palliative care during conventional, contingent and crisis scenarios.
Many of our doctors contributed (and continue to contribute) to the UW Medicine COVID-19 Resource Site, created to share our protocols with colleagues around the world.
Over 30 cancer centers and organizations across the USA have joined to understand the unique effects of COVID-19 on patients with cancer. Department of Medicine faculty on the steering committee include Drs. Petros Grivas and Gary Lyman.
Volunteering and giving
Our own Angie Bertellotti, assistant to the chair, orchestrated a donation of 3000 Clif Bars to our medical staff, and pop sensation Lizzo sent lunch to medical staff at UWMC Montlake. “Turns out @lizzo is 100% that generous to Washington's health care workers,” Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted.
A website to help match UW Medicine frontline employees with child care has blossomed into a platform for kindness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because our community has been showing such generous support for the work that hospitals are doing by sending meals to hospital staff, the HMC COVID ICU staff and providers wanted to pass on the gift by contributing to some of the local organizations that are supporting our community members and our patients' families who are experiencing food insecurity. Their first donation of $1000 went to the Rainier Valley Food Bank.
The Internal Medicine residents at the University of Washington are raising money to support communities impacted by Coronavirus around the U.S. They are supporting "Off Their Plate," a grassroots organization powered by nonprofit World Central Kitchen. Off Their Plate partners with local restaurants and workers to restore wages and provide meals to healthcare workers on the COVID frontline in cities across the U.S.
Researching a cure
Dr. Ruanne Barnabas, associate professor of medicine (Allergy and Infectious Diseases), global health, and epidemiology is leading a multi-site clinical trial (in collaboration with researchers at New York University Grossman School of Medicine) that aims to definitively determine whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent transmission in people exposed to the virus.
Dr. Helen Chu, associate professor (Allergy and Infectious Diseases) has two studies underway, looking into different aspects of the COVID19 disease and how the body might overcome it. One of the studies will take a look at remdesivir, an experimental antiviral. For the second study – the HAARVI study – she is enrolling adults who were diagnosed as positive for COVID-19 in a lab-confirmed test.
Seattle’s Infectious Disease Research Institute has received seven-figure funding to begin human trials on a potentially groundbreaking novel coronavirus treatment that would deploy cancer-fighting NK-cells as an immunotherapy treatment for the coronavirus rather than the current approach of antiviral medication. Dr. Corey Casper, professor (Allergy and Infectious Diseases) is CEO of the Institute.
A UW team, including Dr. Terry Gernsheimer, professor (Hematology) is working with Bloodworks Northwest to recruit COVID-19 patients who have recovered to see if the antibodies in survivors’ blood could be a key to fighting the disease.