We all recognize that oxygen is a vital element for life, but in its purest form, it can be a miraculous curative for patients dealing with hard-to-heal wounds. Every year, doctors are faced with between 1.1 million and 1.8 million new cases nationwide of chronic wounds, plus the 8 million existing cases.
Obviously, the need for cutting-edge wound care is essential. For patients living on Marco Island and Naples, treatment is just a phone call away at Physician’s Regional Health Care System’s Wound Care Center on Collier Boulevard. The addition of a third hyperbaric chamber enhances the center’s continuing pursuit to provide the best in comprehensive care for patients dealing with wounds that won’t heal.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) provides 100 percent oxygen under pressure at two atmospheres (the accurate measurement for healing oxygen delivery) in a see-thru chamber to patients, improving their odds of healing with less treatment time.
It is just one facet of the multi-disciplinary approach to wound care offered by the center. Dr. Gary Gallo, medical director of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, is passionate about his team’s specialty, and speaks knowledgeably about their all-encompassing treatment method. He is a full-time specialist that believes in the total approach for hispatients that includes diet, specialized wound dressings, debridement, compression therapy, prescription growth factors, bio-engineered skin grafting, edema management and non-invasive vascular assessment.
“Our Wound Care Center has been an innovative service for our medical community. Together with some of the new products and clinical practice guidelines, our patients have seen amazing results,” reported Dr. Gallo.
Dr. Loan Lam, Podiatric Surgeon and Wound Specialist, is another member of the team. The center itself has been in operation for seven years. Since its inception, Dr. Lam noted that more services have been added, along with more equipment.
“It takes a village,” Dr. Lam noted. “It takes all of us to heal a wound.” One particular advantage to part-time residents is the centers seamless approach to care through the “Healogics” (Trademark) Network. A patient spending winters in the Naples/Marco Island area can pick-up the appropriate level of care at their home Healogics Center.
Wound care is constantly developing, according to Dr. Lam, and interestingly, it is some historical treatments which are receiving new attention. For instance, natural remedies like seaweed, which were originally applied to wounds during Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World are getting a second look. Dr. Lam said that “seaweed-based” dressing along with medicinal honey isbeing used in wound care.
Typically, there is criteria that the doctors use in evaluating patients who may be candidates for wound care therapy. “Patients with a wound that has not begun to heal in two weeks or is not completely healed in six-weeks may benefit from the proven, best-practice methodologies at the Wound Care Center,” explained Bill Jones, a spokesman for the center. Some of the indications for wound therapy include: diabetic ulcers, neuropathic ulcers, pressure ulcers, ischemic ulcers, venous insufficiency, traumatic wounds, surgical wounds, vasculitis, burns, peristomal skin irritations and other healing wounds.
As of today, Physician’s Regional and its Wound Care Center has a better than national average in healing chronic wounds. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber helps the patient’s oxygen-dependent wound-healing mechanisms function more efficiently. Enclosed in the chamber, a patient breathes pure oxygen, saturating their blood plasma and allowing it to carry15 to 20 times the normal amount of healing oxygen to the body’s tissues. Up to 18 percent of wound care patients may require HBOT treatments.
The Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine is located at the Regional Medical Arts Building at 8340 Collier Blvd., behind the hospital. Doctors included on the wound care team are vascular surgeons Dr. Vivian Torres and Dr.