Health & Wellness

Boomer Edition | 10th Annual | 2014

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Page 95 of 147

A boost of O2 HealthONE Adds More Hyperbaric Chambers to Help Heal Wounds And Save Limbs by Debra Melani What Dr. Paul Thombs does every day isn't always pretty. And what he has his patients do generally doesn't amount to much fun. But when the hyperbaric medicine specialist's head hits the pillow each night, he can sleep soundly, knowing that he provides a unique way of saving life and limb. For more than 25 years, Thombs has directed care at the Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Presbyterian/ St. Luke's, helping patients with everything from diving disorders and carbon-monoxide poisoning to gangrene and non-healing wounds, which have become a growing concern in this country. While sitting for two hours day after day in a submarinelike vessel might not sound like fun, the oxygen-rich therapy more often 94 than not works to heal otherwise nonhealing wounds. "Wound healing is energy intensive," Thombs says. "And the more severe and bigger the wound, the more of your body's resources it takes." Oxygen powers the cells for healing and boosts the bacteria-fighting immune response, reducing infection. Placing patients in a pressurized environment increases the amount of oxygen that infiltrates their systems up to 20 times that normally consumed at sea level and can decrease destructive inflammation, another barrier to wound healing. As obesity and diseases of aging, particularly diabetes, continue their upward climb in the United States, non-healing wounds are taxing the medical system, leading to increases in advanced clinics and hyperbaric chambers. P/SL, which served the hyperbaric needs in the Rocky Mountain Region

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