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In the United States, chronic wounds affect 6.5 million patients yet a study of 50 American medical schools found that students receive less than six hours of education in the science and care of wounds during their studies.
Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center's Wound Healing Center located inside the hospital will open this week and offer highly specialized wound care methods including treatments of chronic wounds and non-responsive conditions. Wounds which do not heal in more than 30 days often have underlying medical conditions and experts predict an increase in chronic wounds as rates of diabetes and vascular disease combined with an aging population increase the need.
Likely candidates for treatment at the new center are those suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps.
The Wound Healing Center is managed by National Healing Corp., which has a nationwide network of researchers and specialists and accounts for more than 30 percent of the country's managed and outsourced wound healing centers.
Physicians, nurses and technicians at the local center receive specialized training at the National Healing Institute on The Ohio State University campus and have the opportunity to attend research symposiums featuring noted experts. The TLRMC Wound Healing Center is staffed by surgeons Joseph Petrocelli, MD, Steven Thomas, MD, Eduardo Gonzales, MD and Ian Nunnally, MD. Additional staff includes Candi Baraby, MA, program director; Vanessa Embry, RN, clinic manager/clinical coordinator; Donna Overton, RN; Mary Jo Franich, LPN hyperbaric technician; and Robyn Kipper, office coordinator/unit secretary.
Leading edge treatments include negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered tissues, biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies.
The center will offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which surrounds the patient with 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure as the patient watches television or talks with others while relaxing on a bed encased within a large see-through plastic shell. The only physical sensation resulting from the treatment is a slight pressure on the eardrum, such as that felt when a plane lands, as the air in the chamber is compressed. This advanced therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood and allows red blood cells to pass more easily through the plasma into the wound to heal it from the inside out.
New, larger oxygen tanks had to be installed outside the hospital in order to supply the oxygen needs of the hyperbaric chambers.
Patients may also have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials and multi-center studies. The Twin Lakes facility also will collaborate with expert pathologists at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Florida to gain a rapid diagnosis and begin a treatment.
For more information on the TLRMC Wound Healing Center, call (270) 259-1612 or visit www.tlrmc.com.