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Home | Tag Archives: TTP El Paso

Tag Archives: TTP El Paso

Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Clinics reopen for In-Person Appointments

Officials with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso announced Monday that their clinics are now open for regular, in-person appointments in addition to telemedicine appointments.

Since March, TTP El Paso clinics have cared for patients through telemedicine services, as a safety precaution during the local COVID-19 outbreak.

During telemedicine visits, patients and physicians use a secure video link to conduct the appointment.

“Today, the clinics are pleased to announce the return of in-person appointments, and our physicians welcome current and new patients to our clinics across El Paso,” TTP El Paso officials shared.

“We understand patients and their families may have concerns about visiting a doctor’s office due to the pandemic, but it’s important not to put one’s health care needs on hold – delaying care can result in further complications.”

As they welcome patients back to the clinics, officials say they’re taking “every possible precaution to ensure patient safety and access to the same high-quality care they have come to expect from our physicians.”

Here is what TTP El Paso is doing to protect patients from COVID-19 exposure:

  • All TTP El Paso providers and staff are screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the office.
  • All providers and staff wear masks and other appropriate protective equipment.
  • All patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms before arriving for their appointments. Social distancing measures are enforced in patient waiting areas.
  • TTP El Paso clinics have limited visitors to help maintain safety precautions.

For those visiting to the clinic in person:

  • Arrive at least 20 minutes before your appointment. You will be asked a few questions upon arriving to guide you to the appropriate access to your appointment.
  • Wash your hands well before coming to and after leaving the clinic.
  • Bring and wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose at all times.
  • Avoid bringing others into the clinic with you unless absolutely necessary.
  • Please follow signs and staff instructions to reach the location for your appointment, which may have changed.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath:

  • Call the clinic in advance and describe your symptoms. Our physicians may be able to provide a phone or online visit.
  • When you leave home, use a mask to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid public transportation and close contact with others as much as possible, at home and outside the home.
  • If you do not have a mask when you arrive at the clinic, ask for a mask, place it over your nose and mouth, and describe your symptoms to the receiving staff.
  • After a few basic questions, you may be directed to a separate access and/or waiting area for your check-in process.

For more information on clinic locations and hours, and to make an appointment, visit

UMC, EPCH, TTP El Paso urge recovered El Pasoans to donate Convalescent Plasma to fight COVID19

University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC), El Paso Children’s Hospital (EPCH) and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso (TTP El Paso) urge any individuals who have fully recovered from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to donate convalescent plasma as a key weapon in the fight against the virus.

Vitalant, the nation’s largest independent blood provider, has launched a program to treat COVID-19 patients with blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from the disease. Known as “convalescent plasma,” this blood component contains antibodies that may give patients an extra boost to fight their illness. In coordination with local hospitals, Vitalant is working to identify willing donors who qualify for this type of donation.

“We are specifically looking for volunteers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have now recovered,” said Bradford Ray, director of Blood Management at UMC. “They have the antibodies that sick patients need to, hopefully, recover.”

Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso and its physicians, residents, students, are also urging recovered COVID-19 patients to donate. “People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies to the disease in their blood which is called convalescent plasma,” said Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and chief of cardiovascular medicine at TTP El Paso.

“We hope that convalescent plasma can boost the ability of patients with severe COVID-19 to fight the virus. If you’ve had and recovered from COVID-19, consider donating blood through Vitalant (West: 544-5422; East: 849-7389) and help patients in our own community with severe COVID-19 infections.”

Currently, there are no vaccines or proven treatments for COVID-19 because the virus is so new. Although trials for a vaccine are underway, it is expected to be many months before one is approved.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified and approved convalescent plasma treatment as an “emergency investigational new drug.” It is currently the only antibody treatment available to COVID-19 patients and, as such, is a promising new tool.

“Whether individuals have already recovered or will recover from this virus in the future, we want those who are able to donate, to think about helping others fight this disease,” said Cindy Stout, CEO of EPCH.

This form of investigational treatment may provide the body more fight against COVID-19 by using antibodies that are active against the disease. With the help of our local communities, hospital partners and extensive research experience, Vitalant is gearing up to help patients fight this novel infectious disease with the help of willing recovered COVID-19 patients.

Vitalant is seeking convalescent plasma donors to help patients. Eligibility criteria are:

· Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test

· Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days

· Meet all other current FDA donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma

Those who meet that criteria and want to donate plasma are encouraged to apply through the Vitalant website. For more information, please call the numbers above or 866-CV-PLSMA (866-287-5762)

TTUHSC El Paso, TTP El Paso partner with Paso Del Norte Health Information Exchange

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and its clinical practice, Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, have partnered with the Paso Del Norte Health Information Exchange (PHIX) to improve patient care in the Borderland.

“TTUHSC El Paso and TTP El Paso have been close partners of PHIX for many years,” said Emily Hartmann, executive director for PHIX. “We are thrilled that they are now sharing data through the health information exchange. Their partnership is vital to improving care coordination and quality in our community.”

Established as a nonprofit health information exchange (HIE) in the El Paso region, the mission of PHIX is to improve health through collaboration and data technology.

PHIX centralizes health information from different hospitals and providers to create an electronic community health record for each patient. This community health record enables providers and care managers to see the full scope of a patient’s health history across the continuum of care.

With their doctors conducting more than 200,000 clinic visits each year, TTP El Paso is the region’s largest multispecialty medical group practice. The group, with over 250 specialists and subspecialists, provides care for the entire family at several locations across El Paso.

These community health records include health information from multiple PHIX partners in the El Paso region, as well as the U.S. Veterans Administration and U.S. Department of Defense.

Health leaders in El Paso created PHIX to solve a fundamental problem in health care, which is unreliable and inefficient sharing of health information.

“When health records are not shared efficiently, care coordination is difficult, lab tests are unnecessarily repeated and patients are left struggling to remember their medications every time they see a new provider,” PHIX officials shared. “PHIX improves the efficiency, quality and safety of patient care by ensuring that providers have secure, electronic access to essential medical information at the time of care.”

PHIX follows all federal and state guidelines, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to ensure that only authorized users have access to health data.

PHIX’s data exchange partners include TTUHSC El Paso and TTP El Paso, The Hospitals of Providence, University Medical Center of El Paso, El Paso Children’s Hospital, Emergence Health Network, Centro San Vicente, Project Vida, Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe and the City of El Paso Department of Public Health.

TTP El Paso Mental Health Professionals offer tips,resources for overcoming emotional trauma after mass shooting

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso mental health professionals, who help patients recover from emotional trauma, are sharing tips and urging community members to seek help in the wake of the August 3rd Walmart shooting.

“Whether directly or indirectly affected by the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart on August 3, some residents of our community may experience significant emotional issues,” TTP El Paso officials shared via an email.

Post-traumatic symptoms can affect victims and their loved ones, first responders, medical personnel, criminal investigators and others involved in traumatic incidents.

“People are going to know people who were in the store or know someone who was affected. There were a lot of folks who were witnesses, like first responders, even members of the media, and members of our TTUHSC El Paso and TTP El Paso community who treated the wounded,” said Melanie Longhurst, Ph.D., M.Ed., a TTUHSC El Paso assistant professor and clinical psychologist who works with veterans with PTSD in the El Paso Veterans Affairs health care system.

Resulting mental health disorders can include acute stress disorder (ASD), which occurs immediately after a traumatic incident, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a long-term condition.

Affected individuals may experience a myriad of emotional and physical symptoms, including:

  • Depression, anxiety, anger and fear.
  • Nightmares.
  • Intrusive thoughts.
  • Flashbacks.
  • Negative thoughts about the future.
  • Poor appetite or overeating.
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Social isolation.
  • Avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event.

Moataz M. Ragheb, M.D., Ph.D., a TTUHSC El Paso associate professor and practicing psychiatrist with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, said most people will recover with gradual resolution of symptoms over the following days, weeks, and sometimes months.

Only a minority will go on to develop long-term psychiatric conditions such as PTSD, he said.

With recovery being the rule rather than the exception, Dr. Ragheb and Dr. Longhurst said there are tools that can help people cope with trauma, including social and psychological interventions and medications, if necessary.

“You do not have  to suffer in silence until recovery is achieved,” Dr. Longhurst said.

Dr. Ragheb and Dr. Longhurst said another important tool is practicing self-care. There are things a person can do—and others things to avoid—to achieve recovery:

  • Refrain from using alcohol as a coping tool.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Stick to a nutritious diet and get regular exercise—even a brisk walk is helpful.
  • Minimize exposure to non-stop media coverage of the tragedy. Put down your phone or tablet—there is no need to constantly check social media for updates; it will just make you feel more stressed.
  • Practice relaxation exercises, mindfulness, meditation and/or yoga.
  • Do not suppress normal emotions.
  • Be aware of your brain’s patterns of response to the trauma. Don’t let negative thoughts take you into darker places. Pause, ponder and examine your train of thought. Challenge painful—often illogical—assumptions and conclusions. You are more resilient than you probably think.
  • There is no shame in reaching out for help.
  • This is not a one-size-fits-all list of recommendations; self-care will be different for different people.

As a community, we can help each other by checking in on friends and family and be there to listen to their concerns and worries. This is a time for both grieving and healing, and it works better together, Dr. Longhurst said.

As individuals, we should make an effort to reach out to our social networks of friends and family and stay connected.

“As the dust settles and acute stress starts to wind down, individuals will notice whether or not they will be exhibiting ongoing stress,” Dr. Longhurst said. “Is it impacting their day-to-day functioning? Are they struggling at work, struggling to get things done at home? Those are indicators to seek ongoing help.”

Those who feel they need counseling, guidance or simply want to talk to someone, can contact the organizations listed below for free, confidential consultation services.

  • Emergence Health Network’s 24-hour Crisis Line at 915-779-1800.
  • MetLife Grief Counseling Service at 1-866-885-6540.
  • Magellan Health Counseling Services at 1-800-327-7451.

Minimally invasive procedure that fixes hole in heart now performed at UMC

On Thursday afternoon, officials with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso announced that their doctors now perform a treatment for a heart birth defect that affects up to 25% of people.

The procedure that closes the defect—known as an atrial septal defect, or ASD; and a smaller defect which causes stroke, called patent foramen ovale, or PFO—takes a much different route than the past use of open-heart surgery.

Doctors open a vein/vessel near the groin and insert a long, thin tube called a catheter. The catheter, loaded with an alloy device called an Amplatzer septal occluder, is guided into the interior of the heart. Once in place, the occluder is released, and it expands into a circular coil that closes the hole.

About 15 years ago, almost 90% of these type of congenital heart defects were repaired through open-heart surgery, said TTP El Paso interventional cardiologist Harsha Nagarajarao, M.D., who serves as co-director of the Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratory at University Medical Center of El Paso.

Today, the transcatheter coil occlusion procedure is widely used across the world to treat heart holes.

Dr. Nagarajarao and other TTP El Paso interventional cardiologists perform the procedure at UMC. TTP El Paso is the clinical practice of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The doctor said up to 25% of people are born with this kind of hole in the heart. Not all of them will require surgery, but those that present with stroke will need to have the hole closed, he said.

Dr. Nagarajarao, who also serves as an assistant professor in the division of cardiology at TTUHSC El Paso, adds that there is a large, unmet need in the area for treating this type of heart defect. To help increase the numbers of physicians capable of treating the defect, Dr. Nagarajarao is helping train TTP El Paso physicians for certification in the procedure.

Earlier this year, a 36-year-old man who suffered multiple strokes over two years with no indication of a cause was referred by TTP El Paso’s neurology department to Dr. Nagarajarao’s cardiology team.

The doctors determined he had a PFO which was responsible for his stroke and scheduled him for the coil occlusion procedure.

The surgery, performed by Dr. Nagarajarao, was a success and significantly reduced the risk of stroke for the patient. The surgery took about two hours and required only light anesthesia.


Gallery+Story: The Journey Home – An El Paso Micro-Preemie defies odds

A baby who weighed just over a pound when she was born last fall is now at home, happy and healthy in her mother’s arms.

Carla Duran gave birth to Camila Duran in November, four months before she was due. Weighing only 1 pound, 4 ounces and at 22 weeks gestation, Camila was considered a “micro-preemie” – a special patient that would require lots of care to beat an extremely low survival rate of 0 to 5 percent.

But little Camila is a fighter. On March 6, she was discharged from El Paso Children’s Hospital without any major health problems.

“She just has mild respiratory illness, which is not un-expected for a baby born at extreme prematurity,” said Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso pediatrician Devaraj Sambalingam, M.D., FAAP, who helped deliver Camila.  TTP El Paso is the clinical arm of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Dr. Sambalingam is part of the team who cared for Camila in The Laura & Pat Gordon Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Level IV at El Paso Children’s Hospital. He said Camila went home on oxygen support, which is normal in cases like this, and would soon be weaned off the oxygen as her lungs grew stronger.

Dr. Sambalingam said it is rare for a baby born so premature to survive without significant health issues. According to a 2017 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, babies born between 22 and 24 weeks gestation have a very low chance of survival, and if they do survive, are likely to have serious neurological problems.

Throughout the duration of the study, only one percent of babies born at 22 weeks’ gestation survived without neurodevelopmental impairment.

TTP El Paso pediatrician Ajay Pratap Singh, M.D., FAAP, who delivered Camila and has cared for her since birth, said medical teams that deal with complicated births “have to be ready for all eventualities.”

“We were actually prepared for this baby to not make it,” Dr. Singh said. “To see this baby go home is a very happy, joyous moment for us. This is a miracle child for us, and I will remember her for the rest of my life.”

It’s an experience mother Carla Duran will never forget either. She said two weeks before her daughter was born, she felt something was not quite right. Speaking in Spanish, Carla Duran described it as an “unusual pressure” within her body.

“Every time I walked, I felt like I needed to rest, because it felt like I needed to go to the restroom,” Carla Duran said.

A few days later, she went to the restroom and discovered she was bleeding. She was taken to University Medical Center of El Paso and was told she could not leave because she was already completely dilated.

Four months earlier than anticipated, it was time to bring Camila into the world.

After a successful delivery, Camila was placed in the Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at El Paso Children’s Hospital.

For weeks, physicians, nurses and other members of the neonatal team remained by her and her family’s side as Camila gradually gained weight and reached the milestones necessary to be released from the NICU.

“I thank God for all the doctors here, and that God enlightened them to take care of my daughter,” Duran said. “I thank them for helping my little girl so much. They were there always attending to her, helping to do all they could and more.”

While doctors, much like quarterbacks on a football team, tend to get credited with success, Dr. Singh is quick to point out it’s a team effort to provide the best health care for patients.

UMC, El Paso Children’s Hospital and TTP El Paso work in partnership on cases such as Camila’s premature birth and decide on a course of action for the patient.

“As a doctor, we are automatically given credit for something which is not truly dependent on us,” Dr. Singh said. “We do play a part, but it’s a combined-multitude, multidisciplinary team effort — from the bedside nurse, to the volunteers, to the respiratory therapist, to the speech therapist, to the radiologists, and to other specialists. It is not just me. It is everybody who works here.”

TTP El Paso at Transmountain Hosts Public Health Fest Saturday

On Saturday, Sept. 9, Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso (TTP El Paso)’s newest clinic, TTP El Paso at Transmountain, will open its doors to the public at West Health Fest.

The free event, jointly hosted by TTP El Paso and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), will offer a fitness challenge, health screenings, cooking demos, Zumba and yoga classes, an inflatable obstacle course, and prizes throughout the day.

The highlight of the West Health Fest will be the Texas Tech Fitness Challenge. This CrossFit-inspired workout will challenge participants to complete a 250-meter row, followed by six to eight tire flips.

Participants will then pull a sled (95 pounds for males, 65 pounds for females) and race the clock to finish off the challenge with burpees (15 reps for males, 10 reps for females).

First, second, and third place winners will be announced based on fastest times for each event.

More information about the event, including the schedule and Doctor’s Corner topics can be found HERE.

What:             West Health Fest

When:            9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9

Where:          Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso at Transmountain | 2000 B Transmountain Road

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