More care close to home – Minnesota Oncology

Celebrating a clean bill of health with an abundance of gratitude

Lloyd Sather consults with Minnesota Oncology's Rajini Katipamula-Malisetti, M.D.

Member: Minnesota Oncology, Twin Cities, Minnesota

When Rajini Katipamula-Malisetti, M.D., affectionately known to her colleagues and patients as "Dr. K," met 81-year-old Lloyd Sather, he had stage 4 colon cancer. Just off the heels of surgery, Sather was referred to Dr. K at Minnesota Oncology, where a CT scan showed that Sather's cancer had spread to his liver. Time was of the essence.

Sather quickly began a treatment plan that included 12 rounds of chemotherapy.

"Surprisingly, the chemo was not difficult at all," Sather says. While feeling good, there was one side effect that was causing complications — his platelet count was very low. "Treatment options became very complex," says Dr. K. "We could keep giving him chemotherapy, which would extend, but lower, his quality of life. Or he could get the liver tumors removed."

However, the local surgeons would not operate due to the low platelet counts.

'I get to stay connected'

Adamant to find the best option for Sather, Dr. K requested an eConsult – or a second opinion – from Mayo Clinic, a resource available to Minnesota Oncology providers through the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

"Having the ability to do an eConsult is such a benefit to patients," says Dr. K. "Patients having to find a surgeon, gather relevant medical records and possibly wait months to be seen by someone who doesn't know their history can be overwhelming. By offering a Mayo Clinic eConsult, our team can effectively and efficiently do that work, and get a second opinion in less than a week. Plus, I get to stay connected if the patient goes to Mayo Clinic for care."

After reviewing Sather's case, a Mayo Clinic hepatobiliary (liver) surgeon confirmed that surgery was the best option. "I personally have a lot of confidence in Mayo Clinic," says Dr. K. "The surgeons are more experienced at treating highly complex patients."

For Sather, that reassurance was all he needed. "When my wife and I met with [the liver surgeon], he was confident in his abilities, which put us at ease. And he was right, I left Mayo Clinic cancer-free," says Sather.

A resource for additional care

Over the next year, there were no signs of Sather's cancer during routine checkups.

"When my patient needs additional care that our local market doesn't provide, having access to Mayo Clinic expertise is reassuring to both me and my patient," Dr. K says. "I stay informed on what's happening with my patient and when they come back to me for follow-up care. It assures me that I am making a difference in their lives and they trust me."

But in the case of Sather, it's more than trust; it's adoration and gratitude. "Dr. K is a treasure — she is kind, compassionate and patient. And while I would have rather not had to go through this, I've been blessed to get excellent care from both Mayo Clinic and Minnesota Oncology."