Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Providence Medical Center Hematology/Oncology practice focuses on helping patient with fight for her life

Betty Devries loves to bowl—so much so that she was on three leagues in her hometown of Wheatland, Mo., near Pomme de Terre Lake. But in January 2012, she began feeling tired.

She barely had the strength to pick up her bowling ball, and keeping up with her daily routine was becoming harder and harder.  By April, the 76-year-old woman was so weak she fell at a local gas station.

“That’s when I knew something wasn’t right,” she says.

When the physician Devries saw in Bolivar, Mo., diagnosed her with acute leukemia, he told her the closest hospitals that could treat her were either in Springfield, Mo., or Kansas City.

“Even though Springfield was closer, all of my family is in the Kansas City area, and it was very important for me to be close to them, so I decided to come here,” she says.

Fortunately, Devries’ daughter lives in Kansas City, Kan., just six miles from Providence Medical Center and the hospital’s Hematology/Oncology Practice.

“I am temporarily living with my daughter while I am being treated at Providence,” Devries says. “We’re so close to the hospital, it’s made it much easier for everyone.”

Frank Slovick, M.D., the board-certified hematologist/oncologist who is treating Devries, told her she could be in for a long battle—one that could take up to two years. “I was pretty sick when I first met Dr. Slovick, but he has kept me alive,” she says. “He’s wonderful and so is his staff. They are all very tender, caring and fun—they always know me.”

Those characteristics are exactly what Dr. Slovick founded his practice at Providence on just two years ago.

“Our goal was to build a hematology/oncology practice grounded in evidence-based medicine, personal attention, communication and compassion,” says Terry Jett, service line director at Providence for Oncology.  “Today, the practice is flourishing thanks to the efforts of Dr. Slovick and the Providence Cancer Care team.”

Jett adds that Dr. Slovick’s extensive experience, focus on quality and professional demeanor have inspired the hospital’s staff to provide a breadth of services that allow patients diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders to stay close to home for treatment.

“Dr. Slovick’s dedication to serving his patients and their families has been a driving force in growing the program,” Jett says.

“For many patients, such as Betty, staying close to home and family are important aspects of their care plan, especially when they are diagnosed with a cancer or a blood disorder that requires ongoing treatment,” Dr. Slovick says.

“Many patients are excited to learn that quality hematology/oncology care is available at Providence,” Dr. Slovick says.  “Our individualized approach to each patient’s needs, as well as our flexibility and responsiveness, have helped make us an attractive program for many patients and referring physicians.”

In addition to Dr. Slovick, the Providence Cancer Care team includes a multidisciplinary group of health care professionals such as nurses, therapists and support staff. They are all focused on creating the best treatment plan to help individuals fight cancer or blood disorders.

Another important component of hematology/oncology care at Providence is the Infusion Center.

“We have experienced steady growth in the center over the past two years,” says Shelly Hafner, nurse manager for the center.

Designed especially for individuals diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders, the Infusion Center provides a comfortable environment for receiving chemotherapy, medications, blood transfusions and other important treatments.

Dr. Slovick received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and went on to complete his residency and hematology fellowship at Strong Memorial Hospital/University of Rochester in New York, and a medical oncology fellowship at Truman Medical Center/University of Missouri.

Dr. Slovick also spent five years teaching at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York, conducting research in lymphoma and leukemia.

The Providence Cancer Care program recently received a three-year accreditation with commendation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Slovick also sees patients at Saint John Hospital, Leavenworth, Kan.

“I feel very fortunate to have found Dr. Slovick and Providence,” Devries says. “I’ve got an attitude that I am going to beat this thing, and I’ve got a doctor and a hospital that are going to help me do it!”

For more information about the Providence Hematology/Oncology program or Dr. Slovick, call 913-596-4929, or visit www.providencecancercare.com.