Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Vet receives cutting-edge COVID treatment
A local Veteran has become the first to receive a cutting-edge treatment for COVID-19 at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.
On Friday, Dec. 18, Patrick Glenzer received bamlanivimad, a monoclonal antibody therapy approved last month for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19.
“Hopefully, this will stop his virus from progressing further,” said registered nurse Vanessa Jenrich, who helped administer the treatment in an isolated, specially equipped room near the ZIPH clinic.
Glenzer is not a patient in the hospital, so the treatment was given as an outpatient procedure.
The FDA has said that bamlanivimad is not for hospitalized patients or those receiving oxygen treatment for COVID; instead, it is targeted for those who could wind up in a hospital if they did not receive the treatment.
Specifically it is for those “who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization, or who have certain chronic medical conditions,” according to the FDA website. There are also age and weight requirements.
While the procedure takes about an hour, administered through an IV, Glenzer was in the clinic for about two hours, with Jenrich and Dan Prodoehl, acting assistant program manager for ZIHP, monitoring him closely until he was cleared to go back home.
“He was nervous because he did know he was the first Veteran,” Jenrich said.
“I was kind of anxious. I didn’t know what to expect,” Glenzer said shortly before being released. “So far, it’s been pretty good.”
The Milwaukee VA only has six doses of bamlanivimad, and Veterans must be recommended for the treatment by their primary care physician.
It has been administered in other hospitals across the country over the past several weeks, and initial news reports have been positive, with patients saying they began feeling better after receiving the treatment.
“I feel like this is a monumental milestone for us,” Jenrich said. “I’ve been in health care since 2008, and I can honestly say I have never done something for the first time. It makes me feel good.”
“It’s exciting. If we can avoid having this gentleman admitted to the hospital, or we can take a few days off his illness, that’s a win,” he said.
Prodoehl lauded Jenrich for sticking with Glenzer through the procedure and calming his nerves.
“It wasn’t just hitting the start button and walking away. She really connected with him, talked to him and eased his mind,” he said.
While Jenrich sat with Glenzer, Prodoehl was outside the room, monitoring his vitals remotely and staying connected through a small monitor through which he could speak with Jenrich and Glenzer.
Prodoehl said the monitoring is necessary due to a risk of a negative reaction, the worst of which could be anaphylaxis.
After his treatment, Glenzer was wheeled to his car by Jenrich.
“Now he’ll be able to rest at home, and hopefully this medicine helps him,” Prodoehl said.