Oklahoma Heart Hospital Wound Center Helps Heal Hard-to-treat Wounds
Posted on December 1st, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 1, 2015) – Almost a year ago, Herman Davis developed a small wound on his left foot that wouldn’t heal, despite several attempts to clean and treat the wound.
Davis has type 2 diabetes and discussed the wound with his diabetes specialist, who recommended he see the wound care doctors at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital (OHH) Wound Center in Oklahoma City.
But Davis’ diabetic foot ulcer was not your average wound.
In fact, Dr. Philip Bryan and the team at OHH Wound Center gave him antibiotics to treat the wound organisms, which had become infected and resistant to medications.
Bryan referred Davis to an infectious disease doctor, who put Davis on IV medication through a PICC line for six weeks and a surgeon removed a piece of the bone near his toe to treat the infection, which was resistant to most types of antibiotics.
“It was a big relief to have the infection gone because once the infection got into the bone, it could have travelled up the bone and it wouldn’t have been just a small piece of bone they removed,” said Davis, 73, of Oklahoma City. “It could have been my entire foot or worse.”
Now that the infection was gone, the team at the OHH Wound Center could concentrate on healing Davis’ wound.
Treating More Than a Wound
In January 2015, OHH opened the wound center in Oklahoma City, which is a member of the Healogics network. The specialty clinic offers advanced therapies to patients suffering from chronic wounds or wounds that are difficult to heal, like Davis’ wound. A chronic wound is a wound that does not heal after 30 days.
The clinic features six exam rooms and two hyperbaric chambers to treat certain types of wounds that do not respond to other interventions. The average time it takes wounds to heal at the clinic is about 27 days.
Doctors and clinic staff at the wound center treat a variety of conditions, including foot and leg ulcers; acute burns; non-healing surgical wounds; acute crush injuries; chronic wounds; incisions; and wounds caused by autoimmune diseases, among other conditions.
Dr. Elaine Soter, a certified wound specialist, medical director of the OHH Wound Center in Oklahoma City and Southwest Zone medical director for Healogics, said their job is more than just healing a wound, especially since the majority of the wounds they treat are chronic wounds related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other diseases.
“One of my little catchphrases is you treat the whole patient, not just the hole in the patient,” said Soter, who has more than 15 years of experience in wound care and more than 40 years of total medical experience. “We really go head to toe and evaluate how well the patient’s diabetes is controlled, whether they have vascular disease, whether the patient smokes, and whether any other illnesses or conditions could affect their ability to heal. We look at all of that and put together a treatment plan to aggressively heal the wound.”
Soter said the link to cardiovascular specialists at OHH makes the wound center unique.
Recently, she was treating a patient who also had a heart condition. In looking at his medical history, she noticed some changes in his health since his last visit to his cardiologist at OHH that needed to be addressed quickly. She connected him with his cardiologist and within a week he had bypass surgery.
“That was very successful because instead of him languishing in the health care system, we were able to really jump on top of it,” said Soter. “That’s what we really need to do; we need to be timely about our interventions.”
Personalized Treatment for Chronic Wounds
Due to the complexity of his wound, Davis’ timely intervention involved the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments every weekday for a couple of months.
During the 90-minute or 120-minute hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, patients breathe pure oxygen in a special chamber that is pressurized to 33 feet below sea level. Patients receive 10 times the amount of oxygen than normal breathing, which helps wounds heal faster by stimulating new small blood vessel formation and allowing antibiotics to work better.
“The longer the wounds stay open, the higher chance of infection,” said Soter. “They are a leading cause for rehospitalization and can lead to bone infection and other complications.”
In some cases, untreated wounds can lead to the amputation of a limb.
After a few months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, combined with once weekly wound debridement (removal of unhealthy tissue), cleaning and dressing, Davis was finally wound free.
“It’s been a long trial, but it’s finally over and I’m pleased with the way everything came out,” said Davis. “I would 100 percent recommend them to anybody. I got nothing but first-class treatment from them. They really are a caring, compassionate bunch of people that treated my wife and me like we were part of their family.”
Education Is Key
In addition to healing wounds and assessing patients’ whole health history, Soter said teaching is a big part of her job.
“There’s a huge education component to it, but the nice thing is that I see them every week and give them a course in proper eating, smoking cessation and controlling their blood sugars,” she said. “Diabetes takes no prisoners. It literally affects every tissue in our body and the results can be catastrophic.”
If you have diabetes, it is important to get annual foot examinations; inspect your feet every day; regularly maintain your feet by cleaning your toenails and treating corns and calluses; wear supportive socks and shoes; eat healthy; and exercise daily to prevent the development of diabetic foot ulcers.
If you have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days or a surgical wound that has become infected, ask your doctor about seeing a wound care specialist at the OHH Wound Center, located at 530 SW 80th St. in Oklahoma City. The center also accepts self-referrals. Call 405-628-6611 for more information or to schedule your appointment.
Oklahoma Heart Hospital (OHH) is known for focusing on the patient and family experience. Consistently recognized as a national leader in patient satisfaction, OHH also ranks in the top 1% in the nation in cardiac procedural volumes and in the top 6% in quality outcomes for cardiac surgery. As a physician-owned hospital, OHH is better empowered to connect the practices of the organization to the needs of the patient. Founded I n 2002,OHH’s network is one of the largest cardiovascular programs in the United States, consisting of 2 hospitals, 70 cardiovascular specialists and 60 clinics in rural and metro locations across the great state of Oklahoma.
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., Healogics is the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. Healogics and its affiliated companies manage nearly 800 Wound Care Centers® in the nation and saw nearly 300,000 patients in 2014 through a connected network of partner hospitals and Wound Care Centers, academic medical centers, and other post‐acute sites. Healogics utilizes an evidence‐based systematic approach to chronic wound healing to treat an underserved and growing patient population. A fund managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a private investment firm, is the majority shareholder of Healogics. For more information, please visit www.healogics.com.