By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
Wounds take time to heal, but Mercy Wound Care Center is making the process more bearable through high quality equipment and staff.
To celebrate its first year of providing specialized wound care treatment in Clinton, the center hosted an open house giving patients and staff a chance to express the life-changing experiences that have been made possible.
“We are able to offer wound care at the highest level,” Mercy Wound Care Center Medical Director Ashton Nickles said. “It’s great to see patients stay in town and get the care they need.”
The center, located at Mercy Medical Center’s South Campus, opened in February 2012 to meet the growing needs for wound care treatment in the Clinton area and surrounding communities. Prior to its inception, Nickles and staff had to refer patients to other facilities for advanced care. After one year, the Wound Care Center has had more than 1,900 visits and performed more than 700 hyperbaric treatments. Similar to the national average of patients utilizing hyperbaric treatment, Mercy Wound Care has successfully healed at a rate of more than 88 percent.
For patient Chuck Turner, Jr., it was a matter of life or death. His struggles began more than six years ago when he came within inches of not only having his legs amputated, but likely losing his life. Turner battled with wounds on his legs and was being treated in Iowa City. When amputation of his legs was discussed, he made the decision to never return and his condition began to deteriorate.
Turner was diagnosed with diabetes and began home care and rehab. Not long after, a wound began to develop between his toes. He fought the infection with skin graph operations, traveling to Iowa City and other out-of-town treatment centers. When the wound care center opened last year, Turner was able to simply go a block down the street to receive treatments. In June, after 60 hyperbaric treatments, he was finally able to heal the wound and eliminate the severe pain he was facing everyday. Surprisingly the day of his last treatment was a time of mixed emotions.
“I was excited that it was done, but sad that I wouldn’t be coming in to see everyone anymore,” Turner said.
Today, Turner still comes in for regular checkups, but is able to enjoy the things he used to do without pain. He was able to return to coaching Clinton Junior Baseball, something he wasn’t able to do the last few years.
The Wound Centers’ first patient, Nancy Eckelberg, struggled to treat her own wound for six months before getting treatment. Working jobs that required her to be on her feet all her life took its toll on her ankle. After six weeks of treatment at the center, Eckelberg was able to heal with help from the dedicated staff.
“I would tell everyone not to mess around and get in to the Wound Care Center,” Eckelberg said. “The crew is very caring, considerate and they tell you exactly what they are doing. They don’t beat around the bush and they’re honest with you.”
The Wound Care Center offers advanced healing therapies, proven clinical approaches, individual patient treatment plans and a disease-management approach to heal wounds that have resisted conventional treatment. The Mercy Wound Care Center has been developed in conjunction with The Center for Wound Healing, Inc. Mercy’s two hyperbaric chambers allow patients to receive pure oxygen to speed the healing of their wounds, providing a more advanced treatment option for those who qualify for the procedure. The hyperbaric oxygen chambers work by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. This increase in the amount of oxygen stimulates the tissues and helps wounds heal more quickly.
For more information on Mercy’s Wound Care Center, contact 244-5495.