BY KEN JOHNSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HUTCHINSON REGIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
It would seem difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to escape life without a wound of some kind. Luckily, most are short lived and heal soon after the incident that caused the problem.
On the other hand, it is estimated that 6.5 million Americans awaken every morning suffering the effects of chronic wounds, a majority of whom are also under treatment for several chronic diseases including diabetes and obesity, two medical conditions that dramatically increase the risk of issues of the skin.
According to the website emedicinehealth, under normal conditions, the skin is a barrier to the outside world protecting the body from infection, radiation, and extremes of temperature. Many situations may result in wounds that may damage the skin including abrasions, lacerations, rupture injuries, punctures, and penetrating wounds. Many wounds are superficial, requiring no more than first aid including cleansing and dressing.
Pain, swelling, and bleeding are the most common symptoms of a wound and the amount of each is dependent upon the location of the injury. Sizeable lacerations may not hurt as much if they are located in areas with few nerve endings while abrasions of fingertips which have greater nerve endings may result in significant pain. Lacerations may result in significant bleeding if the affected area has a greater number of blood vessels. Prominent among these areas is the face and scalp.
Deeper wounds require immediate medical attention to prevent infection and damage to bones, muscle tendon, arteries and nerves. Speedy treatment reduces the risk of complications and preserves full bodily functions.
If the wound is due to significant force or trauma, or if bleeding cannot be stopped even with persistent pressure and elevation, immediate medical attention is recommended. Also, if there is concern that the wound is significant enough to require repair with stitches, fast medical attention is essential. Most facial wounds may need to be repaired for cosmetic reasons, especially if they involve the lip or eye.
Healthcare professionals are in agreement that animal and human bites are high risk conditions that, if not treated promptly, may result in life threatening infections. On these types of wounds, it is important to know a person’s tetanus immunization status during the previous five years to determine if the patient may need a booster vaccination.
Medscape, a web resource for physicians and health professionals, states that successful treatment of difficult wounds requires an assessment of the entire patient and not just the wound. The speed of healing may be adversely affected by malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies or heart issues.
With the increased need for wound care treatment, the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center (HRMC) Wound and Hyperbaric Center has reinforced its commitment to providing the latest therapies to residents within our service area who are dealing with chronic wounds.
The medical conditions of diabetes and obesity mentioned earlier, coupled with an aging population has resulted in a dramatic increase in the need for specialty wound care facilities throughout the nation.
Most medical providers can manage a simple wound but find it increasingly difficult to adequately treat chronic wounds as part of their everyday practice. Advance wound care services such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy available at Hutchinson Regional Center are many times the best option for patients dealing with these conditions. Some patients dealing with diabetic foot ulcer conditions are prime candidates for limb-salvage therapy available in the Wound Care Center at HRMC.
Dr. Terence McDonald, a renowned authority on wound care treatments, is leading our efforts at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center serving as Medical Director for the Wound Care Center.
Dr. McDonald is a think outside the box physician who is constantly looking for new and innovative treatments as no two patients are identical.
“We study each patient to determine what treatment is best based on his or her medical history, current physical health, and mental attitude,” Dr. McDonald said. “In some cases, two individuals of the same age with similar vitals may require different strategies to achieve the best outcome for each.”
The Wound Clinic at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center is committed to improving the quality of life by truly integrating resources to heal difficult wounds.
We are proud to offer these life enhancing, and sometimes lifesaving services to our patients.