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Hyperbaric chamber at TRMC offers new treatment options

Charles Dunn appeared as relaxed as if he were about to step into an inviting, steaming, hot tub.

And, for Dunn, the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber at Troy Regional Medical Center Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center is even better than a relaxing hot tub. It’s healing.

The Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber offers Dunn the outpatient opportunity to find why a foot wound is not healing properly.

“I’m diabetic and I had no idea that anything foreign had gotten into my big toe,” Dunn said. “The toe had gotten infected and the infection had gotten into the bone and it wouldn’t heal.”

Dunn realized, if the infection could not be healed, amputation of his toe could be his only option.

“But, I heard about the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Troy Regional and I was more than willing to give it a try,” Dunn said. “This chamber does not scare me. It’s my hope.”

Dunn is the first patient at the TRMC Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center. As the first patient, he was allowed to name the chamber. He christened it “Charlie Mack.”

The chamber is not imposing. It’s a clear, plastic chamber complete with color television that helps pass the time. For Dunn, it’s two hours a day, five days a week for six weeks.

“That seems like a long time but, if doses of oxygen will help in the healing process, if it will heal my foot, then it’s worth every minute of it and more,” he said.

The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center is an outpatient facility designed to find the reason a patient’s wound is not healing properly,” said Dr. Richard Schloemer, center director. “It is designed for non-healing wounds and is of great benefit for diabetics who, often, have non-healing wounds. Hyperbaric medicine could mean the difference betwen amputation and treatment.”

In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, Schloemer said, the air pressure is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, the lungs can gather much more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.

When the blood carries this extra oxygen throughout the body, this helps fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.

Amanda Royal, RN, TRMC Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, said those seeking treatment will be evaluated and care will be taken of the wound.

“A lot of times, with chronic wounds, they will have underlying conditions that need to be considered,” she said. “Our patients are examined and evaluated for all possible related conditions, like diabetes.”

The center uses pressure-relieving devices, nutritional evaluations and other testing to find underlying causes.  Healthcare workers will customize a plan for each patient to help improve the healing process. That plan will also provide education for the patient.

Schloemer said the TRMC Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center is a big investment for Troy and a huge benefit for patients, especially diabetics, who have non-healing wounds.

Troy and Pike County area residents will not have to travel to get this specialized treatment for non-healing wounds and other medical conditions that benefit from healing effects of the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber.

For those who are considering the TRMC Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center as an option for wound care, the  process is rather simple.

“What we’ll do is set up an evaluation and from there we want to not only take care of the wound, but we want to see kind of what’s going on with it. A lot of times with chronic wounds, they have a lot of underlying conditions,” Royal said.

Patients are examined by a specially-trained physician and evaluated for all possible related conditions, like diabetes.

The center uses pressure-relieving devices, nutritional evaluations, and other testing to find the underlying causes.

Healthcare workers will then customize a plan for each patient to help improve the healing process. That plan will also provide education for the patient.

Residents living in the Troy and surrounding communities now won’t have to travel far to get this specialized treatment for non-healing wounds.

The TRMC Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center is located on the TRMC Campus at 1320 Highway 231 South, Suite 1. For more information or an appointment, call 334-566-0546.