Sat, Aug 10, 2019 at 11:35 AM
The high level of specialized care available locally for diabetic ulcers and other persistent sores is "kind of a secret."
Marshall Wound Healing Center has garnered national attention for earning a Center of Excellence Award four years in a row. Locally, though, few people even realize Marshall County has its own clinic dedicated to healing wounds.
The facility is located at Marshall Professional Center.
Most people don’t think about that service until they have a wound that won’t heal. And with poor diets and lack of exercise driving diabetes cases to epidemic levels, more and more people are forced to seek help for diabetic ulcers.
“We have a good service and it’s kind of a secret,” says Kayla Gable, recently named program director. “Our patients are so grateful.”
The majority of patients at the Marshall Wound Healing Center are diabetics. That’s because many people with diabetes have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which reduces blood flow to the feet. Also, many people with diabetes have nerve disease or neuropathy, which reduces feeling and prevents them from noticing an injury to the foot. Neuropathy sufferers may get their bare feet cut, scraped, punctured or even burned without knowing it. Or a poorly fitting shoe could rub a blister that worsens. Together, these problems cause ulcers and infections that may lead to amputation.
Gable says people with diabetic ulcers are doing something wrong. They’re eating too much of the wrong thing – such as sugar – and not enough of the right things – like protein, fruits and vegetables. However, if patients will change their diet, their wounds will heal. Despite strenuous efforts to educate them to eat healthy food, most people fail to make the necessary changes. Gable blames it on sweets.
“Sugar tastes good,” she said. “Sugar is an addiction.”
All diabetic wound patients are urged to get their A1C down. The A1C test result reflects a diabetic’s average blood sugar level for the past two to three months.
“We can tell a huge difference when that’s down,” Gable says. “If you’re not eating right, your body can’t fight infection.”
Another crucial piece of advice given to everyone with a diabetic ulcer is to check their feet daily. That can be as simple as holding a mirror and making sure the skin on the bottom is unbroken. Like naughty children, many patients often don’t do as they’re told.
“We’re like their mamas,” Gable laughs. “We try to get them to do what they need to do.”
Another poor decision made by many with wounds is they try to heal it themselves and wait too long to get help. Many patients come in with a wound that is a year old, she said. The longer the wound goes untreated, the more likely it is to result in amputation.
“We try everything we can to avoid amputations,” she says. “Our doctors don’t like to do that.”
A staff of six physicians treats patients at the Marshall Wound Healing Center. These include:
• Dr. Donald Martin
• Dr. M. Wayne Peters
• Dr. Stephen Britt
• Dr. Alan Calhoun
• Dr. Alex Nixon
• Dr. John Groves
Program director Gable’s staff consists of three nurses – with two additional full time nurses starting soon – along with three more nurses working flexible time. They treat patients every day from 8 a.m. to noon, averaging 20 to 25 each day but reaching up to 50 on heavy days. Wound patients are required to come in weekly, and the goal is to heal wounds within 14 weeks.
Gable has worked her way up through the Wound Center. She began her career as a personal care assistant at Marshall South and started nursing school in 2010. She joined the Wound Center staff in 2013 when it opened in its current location in the Marshall Professional Center, next door to the Marshall Cancer Care Center. She became a nurse manager in 2016 and program director earlier this year.
Advanced treatments at the Marshall Wound Healing Center include:
“We get very close to these patients,” she says. “They know my family and I know theirs. It’s a good place.”
Healing can be just a phone call away. No physician referral is required and most insurance covers wound treatment. Just call the center to discuss your particular issue. Most callers are asked to come in for an evaluation.
Marshall Wound Healing Center earned the Healogics Center of Excellence distinction in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Only 342 centers nationwide achieved this benchmark last year.
More information about Marshall Wound Healing Center and links to the physicians' web pages can be found here - http://bit.ly/MMC-Wound.