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Josephine Miree-Dumas – hepatitis C patient success story

Mission possible: Curing hepatitis C

Methodist Dallas Clinic Has a Remarkable Cure Rate

Josephine Miree-Dumas and her husbandOne sip at a time. That’s how Josephine Miree-Dumas lives her life. She and her husband enjoy their morning coffee as the sound of wind chimes wafts in the breeze from the front porch of their Irving home.

“I believe in life, and I don’t look back,” the 63-year-old great-grandmother says.

It’s been a long journey trying to preserve her quality of life. Josephine has endured two minor strokes and survived brain tumors, heart disease, pancreatitis, and vascular disease.

She also had an ongoing battle with hepatitis C — one that ended in 2015 thanks to the new Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Clinic at The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Managing medications

Josephine was diagnosed in 2001, but after treatment at another Dallas hospital left her with anemia, her doctors thought it best to discontinue hepatitis C treatment to avoid other health issues. It wasn’t until 2015, when she learned about a special clinic at Methodist Dallas, that she again sought treatment for her illness. She was referred to Parvez Mantry, MD, transplant hepatologist on the medical staff at The Liver Institute. Dr. Mantry is also medical director of research and the hepatobiliary tumor program there.

In June 2015, Methodist Dallas, in conjunction with The Liver Institute, created the MTM Clinic for patients just like Josephine. The aim of the clinic is to balance a patient’s medications — those needed to cure hepatitis C with those for other conditions they may have. Few hospitals provide this kind of personalized, life-changing service. By managing all the medications needed to keep patients healthy, the clinic has helped cure almost 200 patients in its first year.

“The MTM Clinic staff helps from start to finish,” Dr. Mantry says. “They obtain insurance approval, analyze the chemical components of other medications the patient may be taking, monitor side effects during therapy, and ensure the patient has an adequate supply of the hepatitis C medication to avoid any lapses in therapy.

“We are able to provide this service because we have an in-house pharmacy and dedicated pharmacist versus using a commercial pharmacy. It is what’s best for the patient.”

A quick cure

Dr. Mantry thought Josephine would be a good candidate for the prescription Harvoni®, but Josephine had staunchly opposed taking medicine — until the MTM Clinic was there to help.

“I felt at that moment, ‘This is it; I think this could finally be the medication to help me,’” she says. On Nov. 11, 2015, Josephine took her first pill, and by mid-December, she was cured. “In one month, my numbers went from 74 million to zero. I still can’t believe it,” she says.

Josephine is not the only MTM Clinic success story. Within the first year, the MTM Clinic physicians and pharmacists treated 357 patients. Of those, 190 completed therapy and have been completely cured of the disease, while the rest are still undergoing treatment. To date*, the clinic has a 100 percent cure success rate.

Josephine’s renewed health has inspired the former teacher to go back into the classroom, but this time to counsel disadvantaged senior citizens.

“I feel so good now and feel like it’s my calling to give back.”

From the winter 2016 edition of Shine magazine