When it comes to cancer treatment, 'next week' just won't cut it

AURORA, Colorado | August 31, 2015

Anschutz-Cancer-Pavilion-206At the University of Colorado Cancer Center, patients are never turned away, and they never have to wait long for life-saving treatment.

One Friday in August, a man arrived at the orthopedic oncology clinic with a mass in his leg. He had taken a bus from another state, arriving with little aside from a few notes from his doctor and arrangements to stay for one night. He planned to bus back home on Saturday and return again for treatment.

But after his tumor diagnosis, it was clear that this man, a veteran, needed help sooner rather than later. The orthopedic oncology team—Jodie McConnell, PA-C, Denise Matson, RN, and Bennie Lindeque, MD—sprang into action. With a few quick phone calls to the VA, they were able to retrieve his records. Armed with some background and an interview with the patient, Denise called pre-procedure services, begging them to see the patient so he could be clear for surgery. They fit him in that day.

Next up was getting him on the OR schedule. As the team ran their normal busy Friday clinic, they found time to make half a dozen phone calls to get the patient into surgery on Monday, confirm his medications, and ensure he had a place to stay for a few days. 

On Monday, Dr. Lindeque removed the tumor. Jodi and Denise put in a few more phone calls, and the patient's hotel stay was extended while he healed.

By Wednesday—less than one week after he'd arrived at the clinic with very few resources—he was sent home, tumor-free, with firm plans to continue therapy and treatment in his home state.

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