Patients with chronic wounds constantly suffer from complications like pain or limited mobility- and it gets worse each day their wound won't heal. Now wound care is available for northern Michigan residents through Munson Medical Center's Advanced Wound Center in Traverse City.
The comprehensive program offers a multitude of treatments all at one location including traditional wound care, behavioral health services, weight management, lab diagnostic testing, speciality physician services, and physical therapy. The center also offers hyperbaric oxygen treatment which is helping patients like Dan Burchfield with their wounds.
After losing some toes to a spreading infection, Burchfield was left with a wound that needed some extra care so he's undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatment at the wound center.
"It's actually pretty nice its like an MRI tube but you have the clear plastic surrounding you. You don't have the claustrophobic feeling...they have TV's," Burchfield said.
Dr. Marc Krakow is the Director of the Hyperbaric Center at Munson and sees lots of people affected by on-going non-healing wounds that don't heal for months or even years.
He says patients with diabetes are more vulnerable to these kinds of wounds but they affect millions of people each year. After being referred by a doctor, a patient can receive the high-pressure oxygen therapy at the wound center in one of the 3 chambers.
"What we do is pressurize the tank, similar to if you were to go S.C.U.B.A. diving down to about 33 feet. It makes the oxygen go into the tissues and it really helps the wound heal significantly quicker; helps the bone, helps the tissue, helps the wound," Krakow said.
For most patients therapy is 6 weeks long, 2 hours a day, 5 days a week and hopefully in that time a wound that previously failed to heal will finally start to improve.
"I start to see great improvement in these patients. Its just amazing to see how they've improved after 3, 4 years of regular therapy for wounds when they didn't heal," Krakow said.
Burchfield has a lot of goals for the life ahead of him including fishing and golfing again and spending more time with his wife.
"I think its great, if I didn't have this treatment I don't know how long it would take to heal...my wife had 'next 50 years' engraved on my wedding ring and I want to give her at least 40 of them," Burchfield said.
And Burchfield is healing much quicker through the hyperbaric treatment. For more information on this treatment or the wound center, you can visit the Advanced Wound Center website.