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KDMC pushing wound care center

There are Brookhavenites out there who are wounded, some deeply,and King’s Daughters Medical Center is making a renewed push toreach out to them.

The hospital has begun what is planned to be a monthly series ofLunch and Learn sessions for its Wound Healing Center, one of thehospital’s newest departments that specializes in the treatment oflingering wounds using hyperbaric medicine, a form of pure oxygentherapy. The hour-long sessions, the first of which was heldThursday, are designed to reach out to home health, nursing homeand other medical care workers to educate them and their patientsabout the treatment options available at the center.

“We want to let everybody know what we do and how we can partnertogether with you and your patients to heal those wounds,” saidDave Herbert, the program director.

Herbert said the next seminar, scheduled for Oct. 15, willattempt to further the medical community’s knowledge on woundtreatment. He said the sessions count toward continuing educationunits.

The center’s mission to treat and heal chronic wounds – open,lingering wounds that do not heal after 30 days of conventionaltreatment – in 16 weeks, with the patient visiting the centerweekly, Herbert said.

The center’s staff will use the latest medical resources totreat the wound, and if the practices produce no results over acertain time frame, the patient is then cleared for a stay in thehyperbaric chamber. The airtight chamber is filled with 100 percentoxygen and pressurized, increasing the amount of oxygen in thepatient’s bloodstream, which kills bacteria and allows red bloodcells to pass more easily into the wound and heal it from theinside out.

“It’s a really scientific way we handle wounds and (diabetic)ulcers, and there’s a really methodical way to treat them,” saidDr. Thomas Jeffcoat, the center’s medical director. “Back when Iwas having to see all these open fractures, I’d dab a littleBetadine, clean it up with peroxide and schedule a couple ofwhirlpool visits.”

Jeffcoat used examples of patients who have visited KDMC’s woundcenter since it was opened last year to demonstrate the power ofhyperbaric medicine. In the first case study, an 89-year-old womanwith Type 1 diabetes suffering from a wound that had lingered forsix months was healed in one month. By the third week oftreatments, the wound began to decrease and size, and by the fourthweek it had healed, he said.

“We have one gentleman now with a huge ulcer on the side of hisleg, and in two or three weeks it’s probably going to be healed,”Jeffcoat said. “He’s had it for several years.”

Though the Wound Healing Center’s patient body has not grown tothe levels hospital planners had hoped, it’s not because therearen’t needy patients in the area, Jeffcoat said. Mississippi is anational leader in the number of citizens dealing with diabetes,circulatory diseases and obesity – three conditions that oftencause wounds to linger, he said.

Southwest Mississippi, often touted as a retirement area, alsohas a large elderly population; perhaps the biggest demographicmost in need of wound care. Jeffcoat pointed out that Medicareapproved hyperbaric treatment for a number of conditions, such aschronic refractory osteomyelitis, radiation necrosis,osteoradionecrosis, preservation of failing skin grafts, diabeticfoot and soft tissue radiation injuries.

Importantly, appointments for the Wound Healing Center do notrequire referral by a physician, Jeffcoat said.

KDMC Chief Development Officer Johnny Rainer said hospitaladministrators are hoping the center’s new emphasis on publicrelations will pump up its patient volume and allow SouthwestMississippians to take advantage of its advanced capabilities. Hesaid the National Healing Corp. of Boca Raton, Fla., which setsnational wound healing guidelines the hospital followed in settingup its center, is also helping with development and marketing.

“It really is a great, great service, it’s just a matter ofgetting people into the thing,” Rainer said. “There’s a number ofpeople who live in our area who suffer from diabetes, circulatoryproblems and other types of illnesses that inhibit or interferewith the healing of wounds. The wound center is ideal for peoplewho have wounds that are difficult to heal.”

Deaconess Home Care’s Tammy Anderson said some of her company’spatients have visited the Wound Healing Center, and results havebeen satisfactory.

“You see people who live with these wounds, and now there’sactually something that can be done about them,” she said.

Likewise, Jackie Crawford, of Quality Home Oxygen, Inc., saidher company would keep its patients informed about the center andits capabilities.

“We end up with patients who have diabetic wounds on their feet,asking for diabetic shoes, and they don’t usually know there’s aplace they can come for treatment,” she said.