Saddling Up: One Patient’s Healthcare Journey During Uncertain Times

Saddling Up: One Patient’s Healthcare Journey During Uncertain Times

It might feel like you’re walking into a western when you enter Olathe Health Consultants in Pulmonary Medicine. You may hear nicknames like John Wayne and Calamity Jane. While it’s not what you would typically expect to be part of a doctor’s visit, for Dorman Marler it’s one of the comforting parts of an appointment that otherwise could be quite nerve wracking.

“I feel more comfortable going to the doctor than I do going to the grocery store,” Dorman said.

Dorman was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006. He received a lung resection, a surgical procedure where the diseased section of the lung is removed, and was treated by David L. Lee, MD, a medical oncologist at Olathe Cancer Care. He had a recurrence of lung cancer in the opposite lung in 2019 and received another resection in October. In January 2020, he started receiving care at Olathe Health Consultants in Pulmonary Medicine for his bronchopleural fistula (chronic deflated lung), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic respiratory failure.

Dorman sees Dennis P. Lawlor, MD, and Dawn Bishop, APRN-C, for his pulmonology treatment. During one of his first appointments, Dawn gave him the nickname John Wayne as a way to remember the type of catheter he received, which is called a Wayne catheter. Little did she know, Dorman is a big fan of westerns. That quickly led to nicknames for all his providers. Dawn is now known as Calamity Jane. Dr. Lawlor – he’s Wild Bill.

It’s a sign of the close relationship Dorman has formed with his care team. He visits the clinic every few weeks to have his lungs evaluated and his oxygen levels monitored. So when COVID-19 started spreading in the community, Dorman was nervous about going to these routine appointments.

“Initially I was afraid of getting COVID-19,” Dorman said. “The clinic staff reassured me it was safe to come in and get my care. They are taking every precaution they can, and I’m comfortable coming in because the staff are so cautious. Based on my experience, I’d say don’t worry about catching COVID-19 from the hospital or clinic.”

Extra precautions are being used across Olathe Health to keep patients safe. At the pulmonology clinic and all Olathe Health locations, providers are wearing masks when seeing patients, all the equipment is being frequently cleaned with high-level disinfectant, patients are being screened prior to their appointment, and the waiting room has been rearranged to allow for social distancing.

“If you have a chronic condition, your health may be in more jeopardy if you don’t come in and get your routine care,” Dr. Lawlor said. “Unfortunately, we are seeing more patients in the hospital in critical condition because they did not receive routine care that could have prevented the worsening of their symptoms. Please don’t delay your care or ignore concerning symptoms.”

Dorman’s care team includes family medicine physician Brian D. Cooke, MD, and several specialists focused on his chronic condition. The specialists are pulmonologists Vance R. Burns, MD, FACP, FCCP; Najla Maalouf, MD; and Ihab Hassan, MD, as well as cardiothoracic surgeon Michael F. Meurer, MD, FACS, and his cardiothoracic nurse practitioners Jerriann Yorkovich, APRN, and Suzanne Titus, APRN.

Another option for routine care is a telehealth visit. Most Olathe Health primary care and specialty clinics are offering virtual visits for new and existing patients. To set up a telehealth visit, call your provider’s office.

To make an appointment with Olathe Health Consultants in Pulmonary Medicine, call 913-829-0446 or schedule online at