Advanced Technology with Telemedicine at Central Care Cancer Center

Brian and Julie Mitchell visit with Dr. Kambhampati

Virtual Visit – Brian and Julie Mitchell participate in a telemedicine conference in early May at Central Care Cancer Center, formally known as Heartland Cancer Center. They are joined by Central Care medical assistant Crystal Combs. On screen is Dr. Suman Kambhampati, co-medical director of the Blood Cancer Program at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health. Dr. Kambhampati coordinates the care of Mitchell with Central Care’s Dr. Mark Fesen.

Brian Mitchell has operated Pro-Green Total Lawn Care in Great Bend for nearly half of his life. Last winter, several months ahead of his 50th birthday, Mitchell decided to schedule a colonoscopy for preventative measures. After undergoing routine bloodwork for the screening, he was told his blood showed some irregularities; further testing indicated the presence of myelocytes and metocytes.

Soon after additional blood tests were administered, Mitchell had an appointment with medical oncologist Dr. Mark Fesen at Central Care Cancer Center in Great Bend. Dr. Fesen performed an initial exam and quickly noticed his enlarged spleen. After reviewing Mitchell’s chart, Dr. Fesen consulted with blood cancer specialist, Dr. Suman Kambhampati, co-medical director of the Blood Cancer Program at Sarah Cannon HCA Midwest Health in Kansas City, located at Research Medical Center. They determined that Mitchell has an uncommon type of leukemia called Myelofibrosis -- a bone marrow disorder that disrupts the body's normal production of blood cells.

Mitchell soon learned that he would have a team of physicians collaborating on his behalf, and would have access to Dr. Kambhampati through the use of telemedicine via Interactive Television, during their appointment with Dr. Fesen. The use of this leading-edge technology has allowed Mitchell to remain in his hometown of Great Bend while receiving expert cancer care through Central Care Cancer Center and world renowned Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute.

“Telemedicine allows Brian to be seen frequently between myself and Dr. Kambhampati,” said Dr. Fesen. “The interaction between us with the use of telemed allows information to transfer much more quickly in effectively treating and monitoring his condition.”

Telemedicine, commonly referred to as telehealth, allows healthcare professionals to evaluate and treat patients using telecommunications technology, such as video conferencing or Interactive Television (ITV). Central Care Cancer Center has the ability to use this advanced technology throughout their locations in Kansas and Missouri.

For Mitchell, whose diagnosis requires frequent doctor visits, telemedicine provides access to a team of cancer specialists, regardless of their location, right in his hometown of Great Bend. It allows him to continue operating his business while receiving the highest level of cancer care. Mitchell is thankful for the telemedicine option, knowing that he is receiving the best care possible right in his hometown.

Mitchell Family with Drs. Fesen and Kambhampati

Family Time – The Mitchell family met both medical doctors involved in Brian’s care during Central Care’s Spring Health Symposium in Garden City on April 28. Pictured left to right are Dr. Mark Fesen, Janet Nily (Julie’s mother), Julie and Brian Mitchell, Stan Mitchel (Brian’s father), Dr. Darin Mitchell (brother of Brian and one of two brothers practicing in Houston), and Dr. Suman Kambhampati.
Mitchell refers to his brother, Darin, as his nutrition coach. “He’s on the green side, and we are trying to compliment pure medicine with nutrition,” said Mitchell. “We are hoping the two can break a few boundaries and we can be a poster child. That’s what we are trying to be.”

“It’s invaluable and reassuring having the teamwork of doctors that I have for my diagnosis and care and allowing me to stay in Great Bend,” said Mitchell. “If we had to travel to Kansas City, it’s an entire day every single week away from work. Just the financial aspect of missing work and then the time away from home every single Monday; the monetary figure would be significant, not to mention the strain of trying to maintain the travel schedule.”

Mitchell relies on his team of medical doctors, as well as brothers, Alan and Darin, whom are both doctors in chiropractic care. Telemedicine provides hope to Brian that he will be able to stay close to home and receive the best course of treatment.

“We don’t have any intention of ever leaving Great Bend,” said Mitchell. “This is our home, this is where we are rooted. … We’re not ever moving, but could we be involved in a trial somewhere, and could it be administered in Great Bend? These are all questions that we are asking in order to make informed decisions about our future.”

“I’m changing from week to week,” added Mitchell, “but I feel exceptionally good and I think we are on the early with this disease. I’m not giving up. I’ve poured on the nutrition, I’ve changed my diet and I’m exercising. I’m trying to win at this, so I’m going after it. I pray that God and modern medicine will heal me.”


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