Dr. Tower’s Statement: COVID-19

Dr. Tower, PA Albert and the staff of TOJRC support Dr. Anne Zink’s heroic measures (see ADN 3/20/2020) to maximally safeguard the health and well being of 750,000 Alaskans. A three-month moratorium on elective surgery is a necessary and relatively minor inconvenience compared to community-spread of COVID-19 throughout Alaska.

Dr. Tower and PA Albert’s pre-orthopedic medical experience in public health is the foundation of our approach in the care of TOJRC patients: primarily, to limit collateral harm as we endeavor to improve the quality of life of those we care for.

We remain available to treat urgent and emergent orthopedic conditions. Although Dr. Tower is best known as a joint replacement surgeon he has 30-years experience fixing broken Alaskan and African bones and continues to serve traumatized Alaskans at TOJRC, Providence-Alaska-Medical-Center, Alaska-Regional-Hospital, and Creekside Surgery Center.

We remain committed to our primary mission of helping patients with hip, knee, and shoulder arthritis by non-operative means during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Arthriticpatients are typically over 65 years and have other medical problems that places them a high-risk for severe illness should they contract COVID-19. It is a reasonable measure for this population to limit their public exposure. We are instituting telemedicine capability so that we can optimally care for this cherished patient-population.

Dr. Tower and TOJRC are the spearhead internationally in defining cobalt poisoning from cobalt-chrome joint replacement implants. 20 million North Americans are at-risk for arthroprosthetic-cobaltism. 1-12 Cobalt screening and the initial treatment of arthroprosthetic-cobaltism can be optimally accomplished through the telemedicine platform.

Dr. Tower is also sharing his manuscript on urine screening and the symptom inventory for cobaltism. It is currently being submitted for peer review, but he feels the COVID-19 pandemic will delay publications for the foreseeable future. He wanted to make it available to the public who may be trying to get help for cobaltism.

“It is important that it be available for concerned patients and providers on-line before the peer review process starts because once peer-review starts the manuscript will likely be embargoed for months.

The COVID-19 pandemic will unfortunately delay diagnosis and care for millions that being exposed to arthroprosthetic cobalt. I would like to use the Medical Devices Webpage as a resource page so that patients that are at-risk (implanted with any cobalt-chrome arthroprosthetic component) can safely be screened through telemedicine…”

~Dr. Tower

Get Dr. Tower’s manuscript by clicking this link!