Hyperbaric therapy helps keeps patient on his feet
Because of complications from an industrial accident that crushed his foot in 2012 - made worse because of Type 2 diabetes -- Bobby Hatfield doesn't know where he would be today without the option of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for healing wounds.
"Hyperbaric therapy is a great thing for people with open
wounds and injuries," he says, noting he's needed it off and on for almost a
decade. Most recently he's received treatment because of pressure ulcers that
form on his feet - portions of both of his feet have been amputated.
The issues first began when he was working as a welder and a
400-pound piece of steel fell on his foot from nine feet in the air. "I was
about 46 when it happened," he recalls. The Richmond native had already been
diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when he was only 32. The disease can make
healing slower and more difficult, and that was the case with his foot injury.
He's battled infections off and on since. "I honestly
believe if it had not been for hyperbarics, I would have lost my whole
leg." Hatfield gets around well without
a wheelchair or a cane and believes access to hyperbarics helps keep that
possible because of his recurring issues.
Alisha Jones, DPM, with Reid Podiatry and Pain Management, cites the importance of hyperbarics with wound healing. "Immune compromised patients with diabetes, as in the case of Mr. Hatfield, heal slower for many reasons. It could be that their blood flow isn't as good as it once was, or that their immune system doesn't gear up as great a healing response as it used to." Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can encourage healing and tissue growth by increasing the presence of tissue cells called fibroblasts," she said. This helps in the formation of new routes of blood flow, reduces inflammation and helps increase ability to fight bacteria - "all this helps with wound healing. "
Hatfield is convinced without the therapy, he would be
facing more serious challenges. He offered his praise of the entire Wound
Healing Center team, from the doctors to the nurses and other staff he's gotten
to know well over the years.
and hyperbarics, it's hard for me to even think about where I would be now - I
believe I would be wheelchair bound."