Paul Matthews and Joseph Cullom, M.D.
Paul Mathews of Lexington has good reason to kick up his heels. After seeking treatment at the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Lexington Medical Center, he can once again wear a pair of shoes–something he hasn't been able to do in four years.
Mathews, who has diabetes, suffered from a chronic non-healing wound that appeared quite suddenly on his left heel. For most people, cuts and scratches heal within days or weeks. But for those like Mathews, whose natural healing process is hampered, a simple sore can become a complex medical problem requiring specialized care.
On the road to recovery
Mathews, 82, recalls the day his long road to recovery began. "It sounds horrible, but my heel literally came off with my sock," he said. From that point forward, his life and that of his wife, Dorothy, revolved around bandages, pressure stockings, and a support boot -all while undergoing almost weekly treatments at several facilities including a major hospital in the Triangle area. "Without Dorothy there to clean and bandage my wound daily, I could have easily lost my foot," he said.
While he experienced some measure of healing, the wound never improved to the point of allowing him to do something as simple as wearing a shoe-that is until he began treatment at the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center in Lexington.
Advanced care right here
The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center is a hospital-based program devoted to healing problem wounds and helping people reclaim their quality of life. Located at 10 Medical Park Drive, the outpatient center offers advanced technologies including hyperbaric medicine and evidenced based clinical protocols in the treatment of non-healing wounds.
Wake Forest Baptist Health and Lexington Medical Center partnered with Diversified Clinical Services, the nation's pioneer and leader in wound care management to operate centers in both Winston-Salem and Lexington. After three years of various therapies and limited results, Mathews began researching hyperbaric medicine and its success in healing problem wounds. He wasted no time in making an appointment upon learning of the service locally. The Lexington center opened in late spring 2010, and Mathews was one of its first patients.
Experience you can trust
Joseph Cullom, MD, the center's medical director, said a combination of therapies was employed to jump start the healing process for Mathews. "The majority of patients who are treated at the center do not require hyperbaric oxygen therapy," he said. "However, those who do receive the treatment have high healing rates, because the process delivers high concentrations of oxygen to the blood stream and the wound bed, accelerating the healing process."
Dr. Cullom added that the hyperbaric therapy coupled with the use of special dressings chemically formulated to promote tissue growth resulted in the healing of a very serious wound and ultimately helped him achieve almost normal functioning. Mathews underwent hyperbaric treatments five days a week over a six-week period, each session lasting about two hours.
Chronic, non-healing wounds such as the one Mathews experienced are associated with inadequate circulation, poorly functioning veins and immobility. Such wounds occur most frequently in the elderly and in people with diabetes. Left untreated, these wounds often result in amputation which dramatically impairs mobility and quality of life.
Why choose Lexington Medical Center?
Dr. Cullom said the Lexington center has treated close to 400 patients since opening just over one year ago, and the volume is expected to grow due to the high incidence of diabetes in Davidson County and chronic diseases associated with longer life spans. He said the center here and at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center use the identical, innovative techniques developed by Diversified Clinical Services that focus on not just treating the symptoms, but healing the wound entirely by taking a disease management approach that eliminates the cause. And since Lexington Medical Center is a part of Wake Forest Baptist Health, the local Wound Care Center has prompt, direct access to any specialty care that might be needed.
It sounds simplistic, but being able to wear both shoes again is a big deal for Mathews. "It's taken a long time to get to this point, and I describe the care I have received as unbeatable," he said. "Dr. Cullom is exceptional, and I follow his instructions to the letter. You can't have any more faith in a doctor than that."
He described the Wound Center staff as very professional and caring. "Nothing means as much as knowing the person attending you cares and has a personal interest in your recovery," he said.
With the dramatic improvement in his wound, the couple can enjoy extended stays at their beach home near Southport, N.C. "I have improved to the point that Dr. Cullom said it was okay for a three-week beach trip," he laughed. "That's the longest stretch I have gone without seeing a doctor since my wound first appeared."
For information about Lexington Medical Center's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center call 336-238-4468. Patients can be referred to the center by a physician or by self-referral.
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