Northwest Florida Community Hospital Opens Wound Healing Institute

By: Vanessa Nguyen Email
By: Vanessa Nguyen Email

People in Washington County, suffering from chronic wounds, won't have to travel for treatment.
Northwest Florida Community Hospital opened a Wound Healing Institute this week, offering hyperbaric chamber treatments.
The institute is ready to receive its first patient.

These two hyperbaric chambers are the heart of the new Wound Healing Institute at Northwest Florida Community Hospital.
"You're dealing with 100% oxygen which can be a fire hazard if it's not handled properly."
Patients have to be referred for treatment by the expert team through their primary physicians.
"Most of the wounds are related to diabetes, diabetic foot ulcers, in particular, we see pressure ulcers and also some ulcers that are caused by Venus stasis disease," says Dr. Gabriel Berry.
"This is basic wound care, basic chronic wound care that we provide here."
Dr. Artur Vardanyan came from California to serve as the Medical Director of Hyperbaric Medicine.
Only about 15% of patients actually need hyperbaric oxygen treatment.
"We need to make sure the patient qualifies for therapy and besides that all other routine conventional care therapies failed."
The staff delivers the hyperbaric oxygen therapy in 90 minute or two hour chamber sessions.
"...which is pressurized to two atmosphere pressure, it can be compared with 33 feet underwater pressure."
Patients spend the time on entertainment and communication devices, while Safety Director Chuck Ross constantly monitors their progress.
"One of the things that can happen during a hyperbaric treatment is in a diabetic patient, it can drop their blood sugar and once they become hypoglycemic, they run the risk of a seizure so that's what we're kind of monitoring in here."
Hospital President Patrick Schlenker says the institute has been a goal since he and his wife bought the facility six years ago.
"I guess I would ask a question, 'what is a limb worth that the alternative to this treatment is amputation?' And while the equipment is expensive, it has been very, very successful."

For more information, contact Northwest Florida Community Hospital at (850)-638-1610.

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