AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. -- Augusta Health now has a way to make sure injuries heal as quickly as possible.
Charles Flintom's cancer meant he needed radiation blasted at his lower jaw. It left a lot of severe tissue damage and the only way he was able to get back to normal was 40 visits to a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber.
“I found it to be noninvasive. You lay quietly in the chamber, watch a little TV. The oxygen does its job,” said Flintom.
The healing time for serious wounds dramatically decreases when the amount of oxygen that gets to a patient's blood increases by 100 percent. Dr. David Caulkins, the medical director at the Augusta Health wound care clinic, explained how this technology works.
“What this does is stimulate the growth of tissues. It allows the ingrowth of new blood vessels. It allows white blood cells to become more active and control infection. And the oxygen itself actually kills bacteria,” said Dr. Caulkins.
The chamber increases the oxygen's pressure and this gets it to the blood at an extreme speed. Doctors say it's like taking a deep sea dive for 90 minutes.
“For many people that have lived years and years with a chronic wound from diabetes or from radiation tissue damage, this is the gold standard,” said Dianne Moody, clinical director at the Augusta Health wound care clinic.
Flintom needs one more oral surgery to be in perfect health. He used to travel to the University of Virginia Medical Center for his appointments, but now that Augusta Health offers the service, he said his life will now be much easier.
“There's so many different benefits that can be derived from this,” said Flintom, “In my case it was only one problem, and it helped, but there are many other people that can be helped by this.”
Augusta Health paid nearly $200,000 a piece for the new chambers. Patients will be able to start using the chambers on Monday.
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