In the spring, the wound center will offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), a painless treatment employed to heal problem wounds. Fisher-Titus representatives and local residents were on hand Tuesday for the ribbon cutting of the new location of the wound center, which now has two hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers.
“I think it adds to the complement of the services that the hospital offers,” said Dr. Daniel Kassavin, a vascular surgeon at FTMC for the last three years.
Each HBOT session lasts about two hours. Patients can watch television or movies while they are in the transparent chamber which contains 100-percent oxygen.
“The construction and renovation project cost was $465,000 for the HBOT chamber room. The two HBOT chambers were obtained through a partnership with Heologics, a national wound healing company,” said Johnna Young, Fisher-Titus spokeswoman.
Most problem-wound patients receive between 30 and 40 treatments over six months to one year.
“We continuously look at ways to heal more of our patients’ chronic wounds faster and hyperbarics are a leading method to achieve that,” said Ty Pannell, program director of the Center for Wound Healing. “Two new HBOT monochamber units were installed at Fisher-Titus in January and our plan is to begin treating patients using this technology beginning in the spring.”
Dr. Shankar Kurra, Fisher-Titus chief medical officer, sees the chambers as an important way to treat wounds for diabetes patients, especially since he said Huron County is one of the top three counties in Ohio with diabetes cases.
“It fills that much needed gap in service,” he added.
With Huron County also ranking high in the state for obesity, a risk factor for diabetes, Kurra said those two conditions plus high-blood pressure can cause delays for wounds to heal.
“It changes everything for these people,” said Kurra, who expects the HBOT chambers to get a lot of use, based on a survey of local diabetes patients.
Fisher-Titus has learned that another challenge facing diabetes patients is transportation difficulties. As a result, Kurra said the hospital is working with Senior Enrichment Services to coordinate transporting those patients to FTMC so that treatment can happen.
Since the Center for Wound Healing opened in 2009, its team has worked to educate people — especially those with diabetes — about the early treatment of chronic wounds.
“Studies show a five-year mortality rate of 50 percent for someone losing a limb,” said Dr. Marc Dolce, co-director of the wound center. “So with diabetes and diabetic wounds at epidemic proportions in our community, our goal is to save limbs.”
Dolce was asked why the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers are important for the hospital and community.
“It’s an important tool in our arsenal to help address the epidemic of diabetes and limb preservation,” said the doctor, who also serves at the chief of staff.
“It’s a key component in our practice.”