By Jim Misunas
It depends on who you talk to.
Family members and cancer victims who Dr. Mark Fesen has treated successfully have showed support for the doctor.
Dr. Fesen, an oncologist with the Heartland Cancer Center in Great Bend, has been investigated by the Kansas Healing Arts Board and is the subject of two audits by the Hutchinson Clinic. The Heartland Cancer Center is a joint venture between Central Care Cancer Center and Centura Health. Central Care is a oncology group that serves the Heartland Cancer Center.
The Hutchinson Clinic reportedly conducted internal audits in 2010 and 2011 that indicated that Fesen treated some patients for cancer who apparently didn’t have that diagnosis and “unnecessarily” and “inappropriately” treated others. Fesen practiced at the Hutchinson Clinic from 1993 to 2011.
However, Fesen has no record of medical malpractice lawsuits or disciplinary action by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.
Those entrusted with Dr. Fesen’s care are supportive.
“Dr. Fesen was absolutely amazing when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000,” said Karen Maness. “I owe my life to him and his amazing staff. He went to great lengths to research my rare aggressive cancer and how to treat it. He was caring, compassionate and thorough.”
Chase High School graduate Sherry Bliss Cole was pleased with Dr. Fesen’s treatment for her mother, who had ovarian cancer.
“She and I liked and trusted Dr. Fesen with her treatment,” Cole said. “He gave us another 3-plus years with her that we might not have had. There came that time when she was put in Hospice House. When he learned of her passing, he called me at home with his condolences and asking questions about what happened. I would say he was guilty of caring too much and wanting to cure his patients. If God forbid, I should face cancer, he would be my doctor of choice.”
Laura Steward had professional business dealings with Dr. Fesen, but discovered his personal touch after she was diagnosed with melanoma.
“When I was diagnosed, Dr. Fesen called me back — it had been two years since he had seen or heard from me. He talked to me about my diagnosis, recommended a local expert from the University of Kansas, and made a special call to that doctor to help expedite my care.”
A Hutchinson resident had a family member treated for cancer.
“Dr. Fesen has been one of the most committed and caring physicians I have met,” wrote Carla Krafels-Childs. “He guided us, answered questions and gave us support. He’s incredibly intelligent, knowledgeable and stays up to date with the newest treatments. If I need an oncologist, I want someone who believes in the best outcome possible and not give up on me until I’m ready. I truly believe this is Dr. Fesen.”
Not everyone endorsed Fesen’s care. One suggested that her mother’s treatment amounted to a test case with a trial drug. Another relative was disturbed when a husband’s dying wish to thank his doctor didn’t happen when the doctor was unable to visit.