CUMBERLAND — The Western Maryland Health System Wound Care Center recently marked its one-year anniversary of providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy to patients with nonhealing wounds.
“Although we were already providing many wound-care treatments for patients, we were excited when we were able to add hyperbaric oxygen therapy as one of our services last year,” said Dr. Julie Bielec, a certified wound care specialist and general surgeon. Bielec and Nanette Kelly, a nurse practitioner, lead the clinical team at the WMHS Wound Care Center.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment method in which a patient is enclosed in a single hyperbaric chamber that delivers 100 percent oxygen in an environment of increased atmospheric pressure. The therapy works throughout the entire body to improve the body’s response to infection and support tissue growth and wound healing.
“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has proven to be a valuable therapy for diabetic patients with severe nonhealing wounds,” Bielec said. “Other candidates for this therapy include those patients with radiation tissue damage, arterial ulcers and other types of wounds that fail to respond to conservative therapy.”
One of the first patients to receive HBO therapy was local resident Brett Kile. Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 10, Kile first visited WMHS for wound care in 2010 when a cut on his foot was slow to heal and became infected. At that time, the team used a wide range of therapies to successfully treat his wound.
Shortly after going back to his job as a paramedic with Community Rescue Services in Washington County, Kile reinjured his foot. When he returned to the WMHS Wound Care Center, he received the newly implemented HBO therapy. Kile underwent HBO treatments, known as “dives,” until his wound was fully healed.
“During the period I was dealing with the wounds on my foot, I worked only four months out of those two years,” Kile said. “Dr. Bielec and the entire team at the Wound Care Center are very knowledgeable and totally explained every phase of my care. My foot has been completely healed since February.”
The center offers a full spectrum of clinical services and protocols to treat wounds. The center’s team, often collaborating with an infectious disease specialist, evaluates the patient’s wound and determines the best treatment to heal it. The team also works in partnership with the patient’s primary care provider, who will continue to treat any underlying conditions and provide the patient’s overall care.
For more information, call 240-964-8711 or go to www.wmhs.com.