MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A minor cut or scratch poses little problem for most of us. But for some 5 million Americans who do not have the ability to heal properly due to poor blood circulation from diabetes, paralysis, or other problems, a simple sore or cut can result in serious infections, gangrene and even amputation.
On November 5, West Virginia University Hospitals-East will open the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at City Hospital. The Center will offer a comprehensive approach for treating patients with non-healing sores and wounds.
The program is part of a new network of facilities across the country specializing in the comprehensive treatment of chronic sores and wounds. The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine is staffed with specially trained physicians and nurses. Physician specialties include general surgery, critical care medicine, infectious disease, orthopedics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and podiatry.
“The new center will offer treatment locally for patients with chronic wounds, which are wounds that do not heal,” stated Dr. Robert Bowen, the center’s medical director.
The clinical staff, including registered nurses and physicians, will assess each patient looking at underlying causes that lead to chronic sores and wounds. These causes include diabetes, trauma, paralysis, and circulatory problems. After each assessment, the treatment plan is then individualized to meet the specific needs of that patient.
A major factor contributing to success at the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at City Hospital is the use of a hyperbaric chamber, a sealed unit that provides super-high levels of oxygen for areas of the body where there is not enough. This Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) provides the latest scientifically proven methods and technologies in treating patients with chronic wounds, Bowen said.
The center’s Perry Sigma-40 Hyperbaric Chamber is the largest single-person chamber on the market. Because of its spaciousness, claustrophobia is minimized.
According to Center Director Ginna Reep, a typical HBOT treatment lasts two hours. “For patient comfort, they are able to watch television, listen to the radio and even talk to the doctor via intercom during their treatment,” she commented.
The center features four patient rooms with chairs that can accommodate patients up to 600 pounds and stretchers for patients up to 700 pounds. “This is important because we will be able to serve populations that weren’t able to be served before in our area,” Reep said.
The WVUH-East Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine is located on the first floor of City Hospital. Center hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, call 304-264-1314.
A ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine will be held on Thursday, November 8th at 4 pm on the first floor at City Hospital. The public is invited to attend.