I am a 52-year-old registered nurse who knocked my shin on a steel chair in March 2007. For the average person this is not usually an issue, but I have rheumatoid arthritis, which affects my healing ability and immune system. A large haematoma formed and eventually broke down into a large ulcer. The options were not encouraging – long term wound care and possible skin grafts, which would mean hospitalisation and time off work. Luckily my GP was aware of studies suggesting positive effects of hyperbaric oxygen on chronic wounds and referred me to the Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine.
At the commencement of the treatment I was asked to take part in a WRI study to research the potential benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of chronic wounds. I agreed to take part in the study as it was no inconvenience and only involved extracting wound fluid from my ulcer once a week. Within two weeks of therapy I could see and feel the benefits and what could have meant a series of operations on my leg was healed completely within five months.
The Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine is incredible – all types of people with all types of wounds and conditions attend. Every day you spend several hours in a chamber with around eight people who have suffered because of chronic wounds, and some very dedicated nurses and doctors. Every day your wound is meticulously cared for and you feel part of a group of very special people who are being treated by a therapy which I believe is amazing.
Early in my career as a nurse, a large part of my work was treating chronic wounds and I saw people go through many years of heartache, pain and disability. I believe any kind of research to prevent this would be beneficial for many Australians. I hope in some small way my involvement in this research project has contributed to making hyperbaric medicine for chronic wounds become more accessible to the public as a proven treatment with results confirmed by clinical trials and research.