“We’re doing a current review of the data, but the sense we are getting is that we’ve been able to prevent some major critical care disasters,” she says.
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Explore This IssueAugust 2020
The Role of Fellows
Rheumatology fellows have been involved in many aspects of the effort to treat COVID-19 patients, including monitoring patient lab reports and, along with Dr. Torralba, advising primary medical teams about biologic drug recommendations.
Fellows conduct consultations via telemedicine, so they are not working at the patient bedside. “The fellows have become quite adept at identifying when a patient has cytokine storm [and] actually does need the biologic,” says Dr. Torralba. “With the attending’s supervision, [the fellows are] in charge of coordinating with the pharmacy how to get the biologic the same day—within hours of us making a recommendation.”
Some hospitalized patients have improved enough to return home. “The fellows and I are now seeing [discharged] patients in our rheumatology clinics as COVID-19 cytokine storm follow-up patients,” concludes Dr. Torralba.
Catherine Kolonko is a medical writer based in Oregon.