In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

April 22, 2014

Kingman and Mayo, through a patient’s eyes

Teri Williams and her dog, Pete.

Photo courtesy of Rik Simon, Off Broadway Photography, Kingman, Ariz.

Back in 2011, Kingman Regional Medical Center in Kingman, Ariz., became just the second member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. And this week (Monday, to be exact), Kingman was the first stop on the cross-country tour of Mayo Clinic's Sesquicentennial mobile exhibit.

Before becoming a member of the care network, Kingman and its physicians and allied health staff had already been working closely with Mayo Clinic on things like the stroke telemedicine and graduate medical education. Joining the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Kingman CEO Brian Turney said, was the "next step in continuing that collaboration."

It's a collaboration that gets the thumbs up from Kingman staff and patients alike. Sometimes in the form of the same person. Just ask Teri Williams, a communications specialist, grant writer and program developer at Kingman, and a breast cancer patient. Williams shared the details of her story, which she says began when her physician in Kingman found "something suspicious" during an annual screening mammogram. That suspicious something turned out to be Stage I breast cancer. Williams says she then saw the best of both sides of Kingman and Mayo's collaboration.

"The spectacular thing about my case," she tells us, "is that we have five radiologists here who trained at Mayo Clinic." One of those five, Christopher Johansen, M.D., helped bring 3-D mammography to Kingman, which was "one of the first in the country to have it," according to Williams. Finding the cancer early, she says, was possible "because of that technology and Dr. Johansen’s training and dedication -- they wouldn't have seen my cancer otherwise."

After her diagnosis, Williams, who hadn't previously been to Mayo, wanted to see a breast cancer surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "You’re not going to have that specialty in a small town like Kingman," she says. And when Williams did get to Mayo, she says the coordination of care she received was seamless. "My surgeon at Mayo was outstanding," she says. "And, of course, there was that collaboration back with the oncology team here at Kingman." After surgery, Williams completed her radiation treatment at Kingman Regional Medical Center. "I just had this seamless care. Living in a small town, I had Mayo care," she says.

Williams says her care team found her cancer early, thanks to her knowledge about breast cancer screening; the tools, training and the team in Kingman; and the connection with Mayo Clinic for more specialized care. "When you have the right expertise in the right places, and everything comes together, a breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be a tragedy," Williams says.

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Tags: Christopher Johansen, Kingman Regional Medical Center, Mayo Clinic Care Network, Practice story

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