NRMC set to unveil Wound Care Center

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Natchez &8212; A wound that won&8217;t heal is more than an annoyance. Often a wound that fails to heal as expected signals a more complex problem in the patient.

For nurses and doctors working in the Advanced Wound Care Center at Natchez Regional Medical Center, the problems of wounds are challenges they are equipped to meet, said Kim McAndrews, a registered nurse who is the manager of the clinic.

&8220;As an advanced wound care center, we have a special pathway we follow,&8221; McAndrews said, explaining that nurses at the unit and the doctors who are the medical directors look at the whole patient to determine a cause for the condition.

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The center will hold an open house in connection with its formal grand opening Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The public is invited and asked to enter through the front door of the hospital to reach the center.

McAndrews, along with registered nurse Claudia Malone and the medical directors, Dr. Gene Taylor, Dr. J.R. Todd and Dr. Carl Passman, will host the event and talk with visitors who may want more information about the center.

&8220;We&8217;ve come a long way from hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin,&8221; Taylor said. &8220;Treating wounds has become much more aggressive. Wound treatment is now a specialty, particularly with the hyperbaric treatment. And we&8217;re seeing some really good results.&8221;

The hyperbaric chambers provide treatment in an atmosphere in which the oxygen is under pressure. &8220;It&8217;s like diving in a submarine, basically,&8221; McAndrews said.

That treatment is only one of the methods, and not everyone is a candidate for the hyperbaric chamber, she said. Stringent screening precedes treatment of that type.

Todd said the wound care center is helpful for doctors in private practice who often have neither the time nor the proper tools to treat serious wounds.

&8220;They have all the dressings that might be needed right here,&8221; Todd said.

McAndrews said most patients complete the treatment in about 12 weeks. Some take fewer; some take as many as 16 weeks.

Taylor said one of the most dramatic results has been in the ability of the medical staff to prevent the loss of limbs.

&8220;We&8217;re saving a lot of amputations. That&8217;s a big advance,&8221; Taylor said.

Diabetic patients have been among those treated at the center. The nurses will demonstrate the foot screening for diabetics at the Thursday reception.

Patients treated at the center are referred by doctors or may call and make their own appointments, McAndrews said.

Passman said the wound care center fills a need. &8220;There are a lot of complex wounds that are helped by the specialized care,&8221; he said. &8220;Some are emergency and life-saving treatments. Others cut down on pain and the disability of the patient.&8221;

Healing the wound that has lingered takes time, Passman said. &8220;It&8217;s not a quick fix, but it&8217;s rewarding to see the wound that&8217;s been there a long time begin to heal with this treatment.&8221;

Others working at the center are Eunice Nelson, unit coordinator; and Ashley Smith, hyperbaric oxygen technician.