Saving limbs. Saving lives. These dramatic outcomes are a big part of the five-year success story being told by the Wound Healing Center at Union Hospital.
?Since it opened five years ago the Wound Healing Center has served 1,700 patients from Tuscarawas and the surrounding counties,? according to Carey Gardner, director of development and community relations.
Some patient wounds that defy other healing methods
benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO).
Inside the chamber the patient is surrounded by pure oxygen
which promotes healing. As Melissa Dunfee of New Philadelphia,
the HBO technician monitors the patient inside the chamber,
Dr. Joseph Zemis uses the phone to communicate with the patient.
?Included in this number of patients are hundreds that would not have had access to this state-of-the-art care because of the travel distance required to reach the next closest wound care specialists,? Gardner said.
Because the wound healing process typically requires multiple visits to the center over a number of weeks, Gardner says the presence of the Center at Union Hospital in Dover has saved patients more than one million miles of highway travel.
Joseph Zemis, M.D., a Dover surgeon, is the medical director of the Wound Healing Center. He says the staff has achieved great success, and a healing rate of 90 percent of all patient wounds.
?With our staff of physicians and nurses specializing in wound care we have an exceptional record, healing 93% of our patient?s wounds in less than 16 weeks,? Zemis said. ?Our average healing time is 43 days.?
Zemis says the Center is treating patients with diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, compromised skin grafts, and other types of chronic wounds. ?The healing methods we?re using have helped patients with chronic wounds that have resisted healing for months and even years.?
Dr. Joseph Zemis of Dover is one of eleven members
of the Union Hospital Medical staff who care for patients
in the Wound Healing Center. Melissa Price of New Philadelphia,
clinical nursing manager, assists with the care of the patient,
Julie Bachtel of Newcomerstown.
The Center offers Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy or HBO for short. Zemis says the HBO chamber surrounds the patient with oxygen which promotes faster healing of wounds. HBO is also beneficial for those affected by the after-effects of radiation treatments.
?It?s very gratifying to heal a wound for a patient who has suffered with it for a long time, perhaps years,? Zemis added ?especially when the possible alternative was amputation.?
Gardner says the Wound Healing Center is located on the ground floor of Union Hospital. Patients are referred by their physician or may call the Center directly for a consultation. The phone number is (330) 365-3880. To learn more Wound Healing Center department pages (click) on the UH web site.