Advanced Wound Care Treatment to Help Prevent Amputation

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POSTED: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 4:14pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 8:05am

Advanced wound care treatment made available at one lower valley hospital is helping patients with previously non-healing wounds, *heal.

News Center 23's Na'Tassia Finley has more on the old school of medicine versus the news school of medicine and how this advanced treatment is improving the quality of lives.

“It started out just one small patch and it just..."So it became worse and worse over the last six months," asks Family Medicine Doctor AJ Nguyen.

The patient today is one of many who are receiving medical care through advanced wound care treatment.

"We can do skin grafts, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, IV antibiotics," explains Dr. Nguyen.

This particular patient has diabetes, a very common illness, especially here in the Rio Grande Valley, that makes it difficult for wounds to heal.

A special team of doctors has been assembled at the Wound Care Clinic at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen to treat non-healing wounds with the advanced treatments.

The old school of medicine, doctors say, just doesn't get healing results fast enough.

"Leave the wound open to air, it will heal by itself, wet to dry dressings, or if the wound is dry make it wet, if the wound is wet make it dry," says Dr. Nguyen.

But for many patients that course of medicine doesn't take care of the wound or brewing infection quick enough and in some cases, can lead to amputation. The patients other foot was in far worse shape, he initially hurt his large toe in an accident, it had to be amputated, the other four remaining toes took a lot of stress and ended up getting so calloused that eventually one of the toes split and an infection formed. That infection grew; grew all the way up his shin to his knee, where the leg below the knee had to be removed.

Amputation is what these doctors are trying to avoid, while getting wounds healed at a much faster rate.

"Actually our healing rate compared to the national healing rate average is a whole lot better than the national healing rate average," says Dr. Nguyen.

About 50-percent better the doctor adds.

"So far when I came down here, about two months or so, we've almost healed about 30 patients or so, so that's really good. Some of them, or actually most of them are actually saying they have not been able to heal the wound for years or so, and being able to heal with us in eight weeks or so."

For more information on the Wound Clinic at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen you can contact 956-389-1940 in Harlingen or 956-6985546 in Brownsville or visit their website at www.ValleyBaptist.net.
 

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