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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on March 17, 2006

Time May Not Heal All Wounds: Georgetown Hospital System Opens New Wound Healing Center

Friday, March 17, 2006

Georgetown, SC – Everyone has heard that time heals all wounds, but the truth is that without advanced therapies, some wounds can take years and even decades to heal while others that do not respond to treatment may lead to amputation in extreme cases. During the week of March 20, Georgetown Hospital System will open NextStep Wound Healing Center, a member of the Georgetown Hospital Family, to offer the community state-of-the-art specialized wound healing care.

Diabetes can lead to the types of chronic or non-healing wounds treated at NextStep Wound Healing Center. Also, patients with other skin, bone and tissue conditions caused by illness and injury would be candidates for treatment. One of the highly specialized treatments offered at the center is hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy, which works by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. This increases the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood and, in the case of wounds, allows red blood cells to pass more easily through the plasma into the wound to heal it from the inside out. The new center will house two HBO chambers.

To establish the center, Georgetown Hospital System partnered with Florida-based National Healing Corporation, which manages wound healing centers nationwide with an average healing rate of 80 percent attained in 12 to 15 weeks of therapy. Although the center treats patients with chronic and advanced conditions that have not responded to previous therapies, the rate of limb amputation for non-responsive wounds is less than four percent.

Program Director David Whitlock explained, “We developed a methodology that has established an impressive record of healing wounds that others thought hopeless. After performing a full diagnosis on a patient’s first visit, we take photographs of the wound at each subsequent visit to evaluate the therapy’s progress. Our treatments are evidence based and best practice driven meaning our patients do not undergo any treatment or progress to a new level of treatment until the need is clearly indicated.”

Likely candidates for treatment are those suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps and other wounds that haven’t healed within 30 days. New patients are seen either as a result of physician referral or after consultation and evaluation by the center staff.

NextStep Wound Healing Center is located in Waccamaw Medical Park, 4033 Highway 17 Bypass, Suite 107, Murrells Inlet, across from Waccamaw Community Hospital. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. .For more information, please call 652-8020.

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. With three hospitals and more than 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is helping people across the Tidelands region live better lives through better health.