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USU & JTS lead global COVID-19 Grand Rounds

Image of Woman in hospital bed surrounded by military health personnel. Service members aboard the USNS Comfort transport a screened COVID-19 patient during operations in New York City earlier this year. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Sheppard.)

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A 28-year-old was critically ill due to COVID-19. The patient seemed to improve at first, but within days, quickly developed a bacterial super-infection. Clinicians decided to use a novel blood purifying filter – a treatment to clear pathogens from a patient’s blood – as well as antibiotics, which dramatically helped improve the patient’s condition.

This unique case, and how it was successfully managed, was among the many COVID-related cases discussed during a Military Health System-wide virtual clinical case conference led by the Uniformed Services University and hosted by the Joint Trauma System.

In April, shortly after the start of the pandemic, USU began the weekly virtual conference in collaboration with the JTS. The medical education discussions are open to members of the Department of Defense medical community from across the globe, and hundreds have been dialing in each week to discuss the latest in collecting data, best practices, and lessons learned.

“The idea was to provide a virtual venue to allow clinicians in the Military Health System to share clinical findings and treatment strategies while also keeping them abreast of the latest developments in evaluation and treatment of COVID-19,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Kevin Chung, chair of USU’s Department of Medicine.

The weekly conferences – more than 20 to date – have provided updates from military experts, and an occasional civilian guest, in COVID-related clinical care, education, and research, as well as those experienced in performance improvement processes, such as developing patient data registries and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.

“The main objective of this conference is to synchronize the MHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic and optimize the survival and recovery of those affected by the virus,” Chung said.

In addition to Chung, USU experts leading the calls have also included Air Force Col. (Dr.) Todd Rasmussen, a vascular surgeon and associate dean for research, Navy Capt. (Dr.) Timothy Burgess, director of USU’s Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program, and Dr. David Tribble, professor of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics.

For more information about the grand rounds, visit www.deployedmedicine.com.

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