Mercy Iowa City Opens New Wound Center

By Cindy Hadish, Reporter

A hyperbaric chamber is seen in the new outpatient wound center at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. (David Scrivner/SourceMedia Group)

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By Adam Carros

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Citing the growing number of Americans with non-healing wounds, Mercy Iowa City has opened a center that specializes in the advanced treatment of wounds.

The Mercy Wound Center, located on the main floor of Mercy’s hospital, opened Sept. 14, said Dr. Pete Peterson, general surgeon and medical director of the center.

“We’ve only been open a week and we’re fairly busy already,” he said.

Peterson noted that some patients benefit from daily hyperbaric oxygen treatment of wounds, including deep bone infections. It can also be used for carbon monoxide poisoning, a concern that arises at this time of year, he said.

Besides the hyperbaric therapy, treatment methods at the center include skin grafting, skin substitute grafting, antibiotics and aggressive debridement of wounds.

Peterson said treatment plans will be individualized, with access to specialists in plastic and reconstructive surgery, infectious diseases, podiatry and nutrition.

Doctor referrals are not needed, he said.

The center has two individual chambers for hyperbaric oxygen therapy made with clear Plexiglass.

Peterson said about 20 percent of Mercy Wound Center patients will be candidates for the therapy.

With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a patient breathes 100 percent oxygen, two to three times greater than atmospheric pressure.

The pressurized environment helps to reduce swelling and discomfort, while providing the body with at least 10 times its normal supply of oxygen.

By forcing more oxygen into the tissue, the therapy encourages new blood vessels to form, which helps repair damaged tissue.

Nearly 6 million Americans are affected by chronic, non-healing wounds.

Peterson said diabetes and obesity are the source of many of those wounds.

“The need has been there awhile and is increasing,” he said.

More than 1 million people with diabetes develop foot ulcers annually. Untreated, those ulcers can lead to wound infections and progressive tissue loss, resulting in amputations and even death.

Mercy Wound Center is operated in partnership with Accelecare, a wound care and disease management company based near Seattle, Wash. Peterson said Mercy staff have received training from Accelecare.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City has used hyperbaric oxygen therapy since 1988 and operates the largest hyperbaric chamber in the state.

St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids also have wound healing centers.

FYI:

Director of the Mercy Wound Center is Judith Bennett.

The center can be reached at 319-339-3967.
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