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Clinic addresses challenges of hard-to-heal wounds

SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital's Wound Center said it offers a number of treatments including biologic dressings, skin grafting, compression wraps and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. (SSM Health)

About 6.5 million Americans suffer from chronic wounds, according to the National Institute of Health. Doctors said these injuries can result in loss of limb or loss of life and can also hurt a patient's quality of life.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG 13 visited the SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital's Wound Center to learn about the treatment options available for hard-to-heal wounds.

Kathy Chambless, a patient at the Wound Center, said her journey to receiving treatment at the clinic started with a small injury that eventually turned into a big problem.

"I developed a wound underneath a callous on the side of my foot," she said. "It was totally unexpected, but then it just wouldn't heal." Chambless said complications from that wound eventually resulted in her starting treatment at the Wound Center.

Wound Care Specialist Jesse Rohrbach said hard-to-heal wounds require a totally different mindset and much more advanced treatment than a traditional injury.

"The Wound Center offers a number of treatments that can make a big difference in the healing process: biologic dressings, skin grafting, compression wraps and hyperbaric oxygen therapy."

Chambless said she is proof that those techniques work.

"I came in here with a chance of losing my foot. And with their care and all the stuff they know, they saved my foot," she said.

"That's very gratifying, to help people who come in with these hard-to-heal wounds," Rohrbach said. He explained the best part of his job is the fact that the Wound Center has a "heal rate" in the 90th percentile. "Once their treatment is done, they leave with a healed arm, leg, or whatever it is they're having issues with so they can continue life without the day to day problems of living with an open wound."

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