Wound Treatment Center
A Patient's Perspective
“They're like family, I've gotten so close to the nurses there. They are so caring. They knew exactly what to do when I needed help.”
Martha Glover considers herself to be the “grandma” of the staff at St. Anthony's Medical Center's Wound Treatment Center. The 67-year-old Arnold resident was so pleased with the care she received there, she regularly returns to offer cookies or Amish cake as treats for the nursing staff.
“They're like family, I've gotten so close to the nurses there,” laughs Glover. “They are so caring. They knew exactly what to do when I needed help.”
Glover was referred to the Center after developing an open wound near her ankle. “I bumped my leg on something and it later developed into an ulcer. I tried cleaning it regularly and putting antibiotic ointments on it, but it just wouldn't heal. After a month, I knew I needed to see a wound specialist.”
Glover was diagnosed with a large venous skin ulcer, a shallow type of wound that often first appears as a bruise and causes swelling, burning, and/or itching. It occurs when the veins in the legs are unable to move blood back toward the heart, causing the blood to pool in a particular area, such as above the ankle or along a calf muscle. They affect more than half a million people in the United States each year.
“Venous ulcers are sometimes difficult to treat because they can break down surrounding healthy tissue,” says Samuel Lugo, MD, a board-certified general surgeon specializing in wound treatment at the Center. “Anytime we suspect a venous ulcer, we obtain a tissue culture from the wound and conduct a noninvasive venous Doppler study to determine if there are any other blockages in the leg veins that need to be addressed along with the wound itself.”
Strong antibiotics are prescribed if an infection is confirmed. The wound is then wrapped with a special compression wrap to minimize swelling and localize topical medications.
“In Ms. Glover's case, we used an Unna boot, a compression wrap that includes a zinc oxide paste on the bandage to help promote healing,” says Dr. Lugo. “We leave that on for at least a week and change it regularly over the course of treatment.”
Glover came to the Wound Treatment Center weekly so that nurses could change the compression wrap and monitor her progress. She was completely healed in 10 weeks.
“The nice thing was that I had the same doctor and the same nurses every time I came to the Center,” says Glover. “Dr. Lugo was the kindest, most considerate person with all of his patients, including me. I know he and the nurses were the reasons why my wound was totally healed.”
“We're always delighted to see our patients return to the Center healthy and healed,” says Dr. Lugo. “Our primary advantage is that the Center has all highly trained wound specialists, dedicated nurses with advanced training in wound treatment, and we ensure that patients are assigned to a single doctor and care team throughout their course of treatment. In this way, we can provide the best care possible to our patients.”
Glover, just back from dropping off cookies to the Wound Treatment Center again, smiles as she talks about her experience. “They took such good care of me. I like to think I take care of them, too!”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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