VOL. 133 | NO. 81 | Monday, April 23, 2018
Methodist Opens Limb Preservation Center to Curtail Amputations
By Andy Meek
Fred Hallman, general manager for the Olive Branch Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, narrowly avoided an amputation of his right foot after stepping on a small piece of glass last year.
Hallman, who is a diabetic, noticed his foot begin to swell. That led to a two-day hospital stay for surgery to remove the infection, then weeks spent at home to recover. He avoided amputation with a strong treatment of antibiotics combined with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, the pressure from which helps circulate oxygen throughout his body and aid in the growth of new tissue.
The key to his recovery was the Wound Healing Center at Methodist North Hospital, at 3950 New Covington Pike, which also has in recent days opened an extension of its facilities called the Limb Preservation Center.
Fred Hallman of Lake Cormorant, Miss., and hyperbaric technician Leroy Newby stand in front of one of two Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers available at Methodist North Hospital's Wound Healing Center. The hospital recently added a Limb Preservation Center, which opened in recent days and includes three state-of-the-art patient rooms. (Photo courtesy of Methodist Healthcare)
Hallman, who lives in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, drove to Methodist North every day for 60 110-minute Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber treatments. Today, he meets with his physician, Dr. Arnold Tag, once a week.
“I still have my limbs, bones, mobility and I even made valuable friendships along the way,” he says.
Which is exactly the end result Methodist North had in mind by opening its limb preservation center, says Chris Craig, director of wound care operations for Methodist North and South.
The limb preservation center is behind Methodist North, and the motivation for its creation is right there in the name. It represents an attempt, Craig says, to cut down on the number of amputations performed locally.
Limb loss is frequently attributable to things like peripheral artery disease, diabetic foot ulcers and diabetes-related wound infections. At the limb preservation center, patients get access to a nurse practitioner who can help coordinate care, personalized education, consultations with specialists and more.
“There’s a higher rate of amputations in Shelby County compared to the national average, and our goal is to try to cut that down,” Craig says. “We perform a thorough assessment, coordinate diagnostic tests they may need and develop a plan that will meet their needs.
“We have a multidisciplinary team approach, and that approach enables us to provide a healthy alternative to amputation. We also offer a diabetes program, an educational program.”
The limb preservation center has three patient rooms. Patients don’t need a physician referral to visit. If that patient thinks they may be at risk, all they need to do is call and make an appointment.
“We’re trying to spread the word, because a lot of people are not aware of this and the need,” Craig says. “We’ve got about 8.5 million people who suffer from peripheral artery disease in the country. That is a really common circulatory problem, where narrow arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. Essentially, your extremities are not receiving enough blood flow, and a lot of people with PAD are at risk of amputations.”
And people with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting PAD, Craig says, so if it can be diagnosed and treated earlier, amputations can be reduced.
“And that’s the ultimate goal.”