Published in Starkville Daily News February 3, 2016
by ALLISON PERKINS
OCH Regional Medical Center’s new wound healing and hyperbaric center officially opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, making it the first advanced wound healing facility in the area. Before the center opened, Amory and Meridian were the closest cities that offered an advanced wound healing facility.
“We recognized the need for a wound healing and hyperbaric center in our area and felt it was important to make this service available to our community,” said Mike Andrews, administrator and chief operating officer of OCH.
Starkville residents Mae Louise Nichols and her daughter Nancy Meador stopped by the grand opening to tell the staff how happy they were that OCH has finally opened the center. They’ve been driving long distances for almost a year to find appropriate wound care for Nichols, who went to the doctor for a blister and was told that she had a staph infection on her right leg.
“We’ve had to go way out of town to find someone to treat the wound,” said Meador. “We were in Greenville for eight weeks and after that we started going to Amory to get a doctor to help her. Once a week for the past six months we’ve had to make that drive to get wound care, which is why we are so excited about this place.”
Nichols and Meador took a tour of the center and were able to talk to the doctors and nurses who will be treating Nichols from now on.
“I am so excited to be here,” said Nichols. “I’ve been using this hospital for years and it feels like home to me.”
Thomas McMahon, program director, is hoping that more people like Nichols will be referred to OCH now that the facility is officially open.
“We’re providing outpatient care that’s needed and we’re thrilled to be here,” said McMahon. “We knew we needed an advanced facility in this area and now people don’t have to drive over an hour to get the care they need.”
The center is located on the third floor of OCH and was renovated to make the old labor and delivery rooms into the state-of-the-art facility it is now. The wound healing center provides treatment for those with a wound or infection that hasn’t completely healed within 30 days. Diabetic ulcers, brown recluse spider bites, burns, and other chronic, non healing wounds are all indications that a patient should consult with the center.
“We heal wounds that don’t heal,” said Ron Barrette, the medical director for the healing center. “A lot of people will only heal a little bit when they leave hospitals. We’re here to make sure that you’re fully healed before you leave.”
A large part of the new center is the capability to give patients hyperbaric oxygen therapy as part of their treatment. The treatment raises oxygen per blood flow in a patient which helps their body to naturally heal itself, according to Barrette.
“Once you’re in the chamber, we basically get you down below sea level using Navy diving charts to go by, and then bring you back up when the treatment is done.”
The project to add the wound center to the care options at OCH began in late May 2015 and the renovations were finished in September 2015, according to the board of trustees for OCH.
“We’re looking forward to all the good it will do for the community,” said McMahon.
For more information on the new facility, visit www.och.org or call the hospital at 662-615-2791.