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Hyperbaric Medicine Offers Hope for Wound Care Patients

On Christmas Eve, 37-year-old Adrian was volunteering at his church, building wood panels for the sanctuary's sound system. While cutting wood with an electric saw, Adrian's hand slipped under the blade. Tragically, two of Adrian's fingers were severed and several others were seriously injured.

"As with most accidents, it happened very quickly," says Adrian. "Fortunately, I was with a friend and he called 9-1-1. Soon, an ambulance arrived and I was rushed to the emergency room at Memorial Regional Hospital."

Upon Adrian's arrival, emergency room physicians called a surgical hand specialist who was able to reattach one of Adrian's two amputated fingers and surgically repair the others. After a nearly six-hour surgery, Adrian was transferred to the intensive care unit at Memorial Regional Hospital.

Initially, Adrian's postoperative treatment involved medicinal leech therapy to relieve swelling and to drain blood congestion at the wound site. At the end of this treatment, and to give the replanted tissue the best chance at survival, Adrian was transferred to Memorial Hospital Pembroke Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine where he began hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

During hyperbaric treatment, patients are placed in a pressurized chamber while high concentrations of oxygen are delivered to the bloodstream to help improve blood flow. Oxygen fuels the growth of new blood cells, improving circulation and helping to fight off certain types of infections.

"I underwent 20 sessions in the hyperbaric chamber," says Adrian. "These treatments were supervised by specially trained staff who offered music, television and other distractions so that I was relaxed during sessions. Once I completed the therapy, my hand began to heal."

Advanced Wound Care

With board-certified physicians and specially trained nurses in wound care and hyperbaric medicine, Memorial offers some of the most advanced wound care technology. Documented outcomes demonstrate the benefits to patients.

"For problematic wounds that fail to heal, such as diabetic wounds or in Adrian's case, amputations, hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers patients hope," says Blane Shatkin, MD, medical director of Memorial Hospital Pembroke Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. "With 96 percent of our patients reporting successful wound healing, this advanced approach to wound care offers a promising alternative for patients who are unresponsive to more traditional therapy."

Now home and continuing to recover, Adrian returns for weekly physical therapy sessions with the rehabilitation team at Memorial Hospital West.

"In my case, hyperbaric oxygen therapy helped save my fingers," says Adrian. "While my recovery has been challenging, I'm regaining the use of my hand so that I can continue my work as a mechanical engineer and return to enjoying my daily activities. I'm grateful to Memorial for giving me hope and healing."


Is Your Doctor a Memorial Doctor?
To find a physician who is committed to wound healing care, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.