Pure Healing

Oxygen therapy has been used for chronic wounds for 10 years at PMC

By Kristine Mulry, MHSM, Program Director, Parrish Wound Healing Center

James McGee had a date with HBO every Monday through Friday for 60 days. But it wasn’t to watch Game of Thrones. His date was with a hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy chamber at the Parrish Wound Healing Center.

“After a few visits to the center, I felt like I was part of a big, happy family,” McGee says. “The staff makes you feel at home and comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.”

Helping Wounds Heal

HBO therapy (hyperbaric medicine) is used to treat chronic wounds—wounds that are not healing naturally or, for example, a diabetic foot ulcer that fails to improve after 30 days of standard therapy. Wound treatment takes place in a specially designed compartment called a hyperbaric chamber. Wounds heal faster when the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen at higher pressures than that of a normal environment.

The chamber helps deliver the prescribed amount of oxygen to the patient’s body tissue, which in turn begins the healing process.

McGee’s eventual date with HBO started one morning last December when he woke to find an ulcer on the bottom of his little toe. Over the next couple of days it got worse, changed color and spread to the next toe. That’s when he went to the Parrish Medical Center Emergency Department.

He was seen by Carlos Carrillo, MD, a general/vascular surgeon who is also on the medical staff of the Parrish Wound Healing Center. Because of the nature and severity of the wound, unfortunately, the only option was amputation of the two outer toes on McGee’s right foot.

All this happened in about a week’s time! Almost too fast for McGee to take it all in.

What Causes Chronic Wounds?

Typically, chronic wounds occur in patients who have poor blood circulation or diabetes. Underlying causes of chronic wounds vary from patient to patient.

In McGee’s case, he’d been diagnosed with diabetes about seven years earlier.

According to the American Diabetes Asso-ciation, people who have diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Even ordinary problems can get worse and lead to serious complications, often because of poor circulation or nerve disease.

The treatment plan for chronic wounds may include specialty dressings, compression wraps, biological skin grafts, offloading of pressure on the wound, negative pressure wound treatment and/or hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

“When I had HBO therapy, my wound was also cleaned and debrided and the dressing changed,” McGee says.

Debridement is when dead tissue is carefully removed around the wound to encourage healing. McGee also had two skin grafts, one at the beginning of the process and then one about 30 days into the HBO therapy.

Proven Record of Healing

McGee couldn’t have found a better place to receive his wound care. The Parrish Wound Healing Center, which is affiliated with Healogics, is celebrating 10 years of continued service to North Brevard residents and has an excellent record of healing chronic wounds.

“We are very proud of the work we do,” says Aluino Ochoa, MD, CWS, the center’s medical director. Dr. Ochoa, like many of the wound center care partners, has gone through special extended training and is a certified wound specialist. “Our goal,” he says, “is to heal our patients’ chronic wounds so they can live their lives the way they want to, without any barriers.”

McGee is doing well now, and his diabetes is under control, but it took more than seven months for his surgical wound to heal. At times it was hard to just sit. “My job is in retail management, and I’d been a volunteer fireman with the county for more than 20 years. Having to stay off my feet was very hard. If it hadn’t been for my daughter, who was living with me at the time, I don’t know what I would have done.”

It helped that McGee had faith in the knowledge and professionalism of the doctors and staff at the Wound Healing Center. “I could speak to the doctors and staff anytime and have my questions answered immediately,” McGee says. “You get to know the staff very well, and I liked to joke around with them. Everyone had a positive attitude, which gave me confidence in the care I received.” 

James McGee had confidence in the care he received from the doctors and staff at the Parrish Wound Healing Center. Aluino Ochoa, MD, the center’s medical director, answered all his questions and helped make an uncomfortable situation a little more pleasant.

Diabetes Support and Education

Parrish Medical Center has the only hospital-based diabetes education program in Brevard County. Located at 7075 U.S. Highway 1 in Port St. John, the Diabetes Education Program is accredited by the American Diabetes Association. Individual and group classes are available to help people with diabetes learn to manage their chronic condition. A diabetes support group also meets the third Tuesday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. in the PMC Conference Center. Call 321-268-6699 to RSVP or for more information.

Inside the Wound Healing Center

Medical Staff

  • Aluino Ochoa, MD, CWS, Medical Director, Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine
  • Anthony Allotta, DO, Family Practice, Sports Medicine, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
  • Carlos Carrillo, MD, Surgery–General/Vascular
  • Julie Flick, MD, Family Medicine
  • Nabil Itani, DO, Internal Medicine
  • Christopher Manion, MD, MBA, Family Medicine
  • Ravi Rao, MD, Cardiology
  • Wendy Worsley, MD, Family Medicine

Consultations

Wound Healing Center physicians are available as needed.

Locations

  • 951 N. Washington Ave., Titusville, FL 32796
  • 5005 Port St. John Parkway, Port St. John, FL 32927       

Still Have Questions?

For more information about the Parrish Wound Healing Center, including what you can expect while you’re there, visit prshmd.com/vigorwound.