LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- The latest technology in wound care is available right here in Southwest Oklahoma. Comanche County Memorial Hospital's Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine is helping Texomans heal difficult wounds with the hyperbaric chamber.
"It's open, it's clear. There is room to turn, and turn back. I popped a different movie in each day and away I went," said Betty Sheffield.
Betty Sheffield was diagnosed with cancer twice, and underwent radiation therapy throughout her journey to remission. But radiation can affect you later in life. For Sheffield, she was left with a condition called radiation prostatitis.
"As part of the radiation, an unfortunate adverse effect of the radiation is that it damages the tissue. It causes scarring. There's not good blood flow, good blood vessel system in there, and it makes healing of surgical wounds as well as healing of any cuts and scrapes in that radiated area very difficult," said Dr. Paul Nioce, the Wound Center medical director.
Sheffield says her general surgeon had done all that he could, and that's when he referred her to Dr. Paul Nioce at the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine.
Sheffield began treatment in the hyperbaric chamber, which is an acrylic tube that forces 100 percent oxygen into your body at a higher level than normal, which helps wounds heal better and faster.
"I'm not going to lie, getting into that tube at first was a little daunting. But it has helped...It's kind of like being in an airplane. It affects the pressure in your ears," said Sheffield.
"It helps deliver oxygen to these tissues that don't have enough blood supply. It also helps suit your own body's immune system to fight off bacteria and other pathogens that are delaying wound healing," explained Dr. Nioce.
Sheffield says after 60 treatments, she can feel the difference.
"When I first came up until the first 20, I couldn't lay on my back. I had to lay on my side... But somewhere after the 20-25th treatment, I could lay on my back, and I could watch my movie. This week I actually rode a bike this week. Monday, not very far, but when you can't sit or lay on your back, and you can't ride. It's made a big difference for me," said Sheffield.
The Hyperbaric Chamber is most commonly used to help heal late effects of radiation, diabetic foot ulcers, skin grafts, and even brown recluse spider bites.
"It's a very good adjunctive treatment. An add-on treatment to these scenarios that are difficult to heal already...It can reduce, hopefully reduce chances of need for further surgeries, further hospitalizations, or other more expensive treatments," said Dr. Nioce.
Mrs. Sheffield says she wouldn't be where she is today without the support from her husband and the staff at the wound center.
"A lot of it is the people that are on your team. And that's exactly what this is. A team. The ladies and Dr. Nioce here are wonderful." Mrs. Sheffield says she is happy with her progress, but she is not finished yet. "My goal is to be healthy, and be active, and enjoy my life. To be able to be a normal active mother, grandmother, wife, and person."
If you would like more information on the center for wound care give them a call at 580-357-3280. You don't have to have a doctor's referral.