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James Wheless, MD: Neurology, Epilepsy, and COVID-19

Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on patients with neurologic conditions and how the rapid advent of telehealth has impacted interdisciplinary teams.

By now, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has impacted almost every corner of the globe and every specialty in medicine.

Even among those who may not be at greater risk of the disease, fear of the disease has impacted the behavior of patients and caregivers, alike. Whether it is the rapid onset of telehealth or patients neglecting to seek help during medical emergencies due to fear of COVID-19, the overarching impact has left an indelible impact on society.

Among the multitude of clinicians impacted by the ongoing pandemic is James Wheless, MD, professor and chief of Pediatric Neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and Neuroscience Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Facing COVID-19 has meant overcoming and adapting to a number of challenges, including limited in-person contact and increase in anxiety and sleep issues among patients.

“For patients with epilepsy, and it’s probably similar for a lot of patients with other diseases, they really have kind of been left on the back burner a little bit because (COVID-19) has completely overtaken healthcare,” said Wheless in an interview with HCPLive®.

For more on how the COVID-19 has impacted patients with neurologic conditions and neurologists, HCPLive sat down with Wheless and that conversation is the subject of the most recent HCPLive House Call.