A diabetic man in his early 30s stepped on broken glass in the hallway
of his house, and two small pieces lodged their way into his foot.
Because of diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage that causes a lack
of feeling in the feet, he didn’t have pain or even know the glass
was stuck in his foot for nearly a week. That is, until his wife noticed
the wound on the bottom of his foot. She brought her husband to the
St. Mary Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, where a podiatrist removed the glass and treated his wound.
“People with diabetes need to inspect their feet daily because the
blood is not circulating well down there,” said Carrie Dixon, wound
care director. “If this patient had not come to our center for treatment,
this situation could have been much more debilitating and damaging. His
wound could have become severely infected, that infection could have then
spread to the bone and caused gangrene, and eventually he could have had
a limb amputation. These are the types of serious situations we see every
The St. Mary Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine in Apple Valley,
California, opened in 2010 as an outpatient facility dedicated to the
treatment of chronic and non-healing wounds. As the only specialized wound
care clinic in the High Desert, the center treats patients of all ages
for diabetic wounds, lower-extremity wounds, vascular problems, some burns,
ulcers and other medical issues.
Proper treatment of wounds is critical and will prevent medical complications
and possible amputation. Those who have an open wound for more than 30
days should be seen by a specialist at the wound care center, said Dixon.
At the center, a multispecialty team of dedicated physicians works together
to heal patients, using the most advanced wound care techniques and products,
from skin grafts to biological skin substitutes and hyperbaric oxygen
therapy chambers. This team is comprised of general surgeons, a plastic
and reconstructive surgeon, a vascular surgeon, an infectious disease
physician and a podiatrist, as well as nurses who are wound care certified
and diabetic wound care certified.
“A lot of patients go to their primary care doctor for a chronic
wound, but they aren’t specialists in wound care and often don’t
have all of the proper supplies or care techniques,” Dixon said.
“Just like you’d go to an endocrinologist for your kidneys,
you’d come to the wound care center to see a specialist when it
comes to ‘ouwies’.”
Treating a chronic wound is often more than skin deep. Specialists at the
wound center see firsthand how it can truly heal lives.
“Giving hope to those with chronic wounds is huge. We have people
come to our center who have had a wound for what seems like forever, and
they’re frustrated because it affects their quality of life on a
daily basis. For people with a wound on their foot or leg, it’s
physically hard to even get out and take a walk. Sometimes there is a
distinct smell with a wound and that affects their confidence,”
Dixon said. “We want people to know that we are here, and we will
help them heal.”
Learn more about the
St. Mary Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine. Learn more about
St. Mary Medical Center.