Hyperbaric treatment helps patients across the Panhandle

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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Washington County is now using hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat patients with circulatory and skin issues.

The hyperbaric chamber, puts patients in an atmospheric pressure twice what they are normally in. The new atmospheric pressure allows for patients to breathe one-hundred percent oxygen while in the chamber. The increased levels of oxygen in the blood travels through the plasma, to the site of the wound or infection and speeds up the recovery process.

Michelle Newton, the APRN for the wound care unit at the Northwest Florida Community Hospital says that patients are able to watch T.V., movies or even take a nap while in the chamber.

Newton added the types of patients they have seen the most success with are patients with diabetic ulcers, bone infections and even those who have been treated with radiation like Bay County resident, Bill Thomas.

Thomas, suffered from complications from radiation and looked for hyperbaric treatment options that were as far away as Dallas, TX. Thomas almost considered moving until he found the hyperbaric chamber at the Northwest Florida Community Hospital.

“This was good therapy for it and it has been very good therapy for me,” Thomas said. “It has completely, pretty much eradicated my problem with bleeding.”

Newton wants to help more patients in the Panhandle because she has seen the benefits of the hyperbaric therapy in Thomas.

“I think we’re kind of a hidden treasure here in the hospital and we do hear that quite frequently. We would love to get out and about in the community more and be able to help the patients that need us,” Newton said.

Thomas said prior to starting treatment, he had to receive regular blood transfusions but now, his blood counts are almost normal. Thomas received his 60th and final treatment today and says the long drive to Washington County was worth the results of the treatment.

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