Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System opened the next chapter in its ongoing quest for expansion on Monday.
With the official opening of the hospital’s advanced wound care center, MHHS has closed the gap for many patients who originally had to drive 50 miles to get the care they needed, filling a need for patients in the local community.
“Think about it. If you lived here (in Morristown), and you had to travel to Knoxville every day for treatment, it becomes a hassle” MHHS president and chief administrative officer Gordon Lintz said. “Now you can go to the local clinic to get the same treatment.
“This is very important for these patients, because they would have to go to Greeneville, Johnson City and even Knoxville,” said Dr. Shahin Assadnia, medical director of the Wound Care Center. “With gas prices what they are, and many elderly patients needing to come three or four days a week, having this technology here is something we’ve needed for a long time.”
Located on the fourth floor of the hospital, the wound care center offers basic wound care as well as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT for patients suffering from pain associated with diabetes, complications from chemotherapy, radiation-induced bleeding from the bladder or other ailments.
HBOT promotes healing of wounds from the inside out using high-intensity oxygen. The oxygen heals wounds not healed through conventional means in a matter of weeks instead of months by using oxygen to improve the healing powers of white blood cells. Oxygen is delivered in a private chamber replete with a television and headphones.
“It’s amazing stuff. With this technology, we were able to heal wounds that weren’t able to heal before,” Lintz said. “These are the kinds of success stories we want. That’s why we built this.”
In less than two months before it officially opened, the staff at the wound center has seen an average of 80 patients per day. Just minutes before the ribbon-cutting, the center had seen 20 patients.
“We’re here to treat complex wounds,” Assadnia said. “We have a great staff, and we have a multi-pronged approach to wound care,”
Working with RestorixHealth, MHHS is one of four hospitals in the Covenant Health system with a wound care center. Lintz said it took nearly a decade for the center to acquire the equipment and training needed to run a successful wound care clinic.
“From a hospital perspective, I was responsible for the research,” he explained. “We compiled the data, and Restorix studied the data.
“We have four wound centers partnered with Restorix at four other hospitals in the Covenant Health Network.”
Safety is the No. 1 concern when setting up and maintain the machines, as well as handling the patients. Lintz said every staff member had to take a 40-hour course to be certified to run the machines. The machines are cleaned every weekday night, as well as on Saturdays.
The group also had to worry about taking stuff out and moving new stuff in so space was also a daunting task for everyone involved those work on the center.
“You have to get the logistics right,” Assadnia said. “We had to take special care and tests to be able to do this.
“We needed the space to be able to hold a center like this, and oxygen tanks had to fit and work properly.”
To schedule an appointment or learn more about MHHS’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medical Center, please visit www.morristownhamblen.com/woundcare or call 423-492-7080.