ALLIE DOUGLASS | The Sun
Brent Ballard (left), a registered nurse, and Dr. Jason Banister treat a patient Tuesday at the Lourdes Wound Care Center. October is the 15th anniversary of the Lourdes Wound Care Center.
ALLIE DOUGLASS | The Sun
Darla Ortt, LPN and certified hyperbaric technician, communicates with a patient during his HBO treatment through a telephone running to the inside of the chamber Tuesday at the Lourdes Wound Care Center. The center offers specialized treatments for patients dealing with wounds that aren't healing.
Chronic wounds at any age can be life disrupting, but more than 10 years ago when Jennifer Pierce began suffering vascular complications in her early 20s, she turned to a local medical center that changed her life.
Anemic and dealing with venous insufficiencies, Pierce’s recurring wounds would cut into her daily routine, leaving her despairing and sore, until a TV segment pointed her in the direction of the then-newly established Lourdes Wound Care Center.
“I felt hopeless because I had dealt with this for such a very long time, and coming here gave me hope and literally gave me my life back,” she said. “There were so many treatments out there that I wasn’t aware of, and my primary care physician wasn’t aware of, but the physicians here took the time to research and match the program to fit my needs.”
Thirteen years after Pierce sought out the wound care center and received treatments to help manage the condition, she’s moved to the other side of the equation, helping patients navigate the world of chronic wound care as the center’s program coordinator. And now the center, too, celebrates a milestone in treatment.
October marks the 15th anniversary of the Lourdes Wound Care Center, offering specialized treatments and education for patients afflicted by non-healing wounds to increase their quality of life close to home.
“Every doctor here, and every nurse here has gone through extensive training and education with the management company (Healogics) that partners with Lourdes,” said Dr. Timothy Ranval, the center’s medical director. “What that means is when a patient comes here, everyone is on the same page. There is a protocol, a routine, for each wound we see to help provide the best care possible.”
Ranval, who started practicing specialized wound care in Detroit in 1988, said when he relocated to Paducah to start the center, he was stunned at how primitive wound care was in the area. Since the center’s inception, staff have worked to reform long-standing opinions of wound treatment and bring an efficient resource to the community.
The center features 10 patient treatment rooms and two hyperbaric chambers to accommodate as many as 24 patients weekly, and six hyperbaric treatments daily. More than 250 patients a month frequent the center, and the center holds a healing rate of 94 percent for a 12-month period.
The most common wounds typically treated at the center stems from diabetic wounds, Ranval said. Physicians look to correct vascular blockages in diabetic patients’ legs to improve the blood flow to a wound, allowing it to heal quicker. Treatments are bolstered with ointments and dressings, in addition to education about at-home wound care such as keeping pressure off the site.
The center’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers also help to heal severe wounds in a quick, efficient manner. Patients inside the pressurized chambers breathe 100 percent oxygen to increase blood-oxygen content in the bloodstream that circulates to the wound for faster healing.
“With the wound care business we have a very strong team approach to healing patients,” Ranval said. “Nurses are very equal to doctors to some extent, and the nursing staff is all veteran and very knowledgeable about the post-operative care.”
Peggy Denkins, the center’s clinical coordinator, said patients can feel reassured visiting the center with the level of experience offered by the staff. Patients seeking wound care services at the center don’t need a referral, and can contact the center to schedule appointments.
“We have tremendous support from physicians in the area,” Denkins said. “We are a unique wound care center, one of the largest in the Healogics network. We’re almost a one-stop-shop because we have physicians who can perform surgeries to correct any issues, too. We don’t have to send patients out for any wound-related surgeries.”
Contact Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676 or follow @WCPinkston on Twitter.