Diabetic Wound Care Patient Credits Lourdes Team for Healing and Compassionate Care 

Jun 26, 2024 | Body, Diabetes, Patient Stories

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Stepping inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber might be intimidating for a lot of people. Eric Navarre was one of them. He had a diabetic wound on his foot that wasn’t healing properly, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help speed up the healing process. 

The treatment inside the pressurized, oxygen-rich chamber sometimes can last up to two hours. Thankfully, the team at Our Lady of Lourdes Health Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine was there to help keep him comfortable and at ease. 

“They calmed me down and sat by me. That whole first week they sat right by me,” Eric says. He became much more relaxed after that first day. It also helped that modern hyperbaric chambers include comfortable seating and a TV for patients to pass the time. 

Eric now calls the hyperbaric chamber one of the most peaceful places he can go to and leave his cares and the world behind him. 

The Journey to Wound Healing 

Mary Blanchard, BSN, RN is the director of the Lourdes wound care clinic. Every day, she sees patients like Eric with a variety of wounds, such as diabetic ulcers, wounds from poor circulation, pressure injuries, surgical complications and traumatic wounds. 

Besides hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the clinic offers a variety of other treatments, such as compression therapy, specialized wound dressings, treatment for wound infection and debridement (the removal of dead or damaged tissue to encourage new tissue to grow). 

“I love getting to be part of the whole journey patients go through,” Blanchard says. “Wounds can be so life-altering for patients, and the care we provide can be more than just dressing the wound. It’s physical, emotional, spiritual – it’s all-encompassing. We really get to know the patients and their families.” 

Eric received treatment from the Lourdes wound care clinic about four months ago while he was an in-patient at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. He has type 2 diabetes and was dealing with vascular issues and poor circulation that led to amputating two toes on his left foot.  

His wife Carolyn remembers the doctors suggesting he might have to go into a nursing home. She didn’t want that for her husband, and Eric had his own reasons: he wanted to heal in time to participate in his son’s wedding that was a few months away. 

The care team at Lourdes suggested hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the wound clinic to help him heal quickly, and Eric and Carolyn decided to give it a try. 

“Eric was in so much pain. I had heard things about it, and I wanted to try,” Carolyn says. “I was just so amazed at how well they worked together and how great the team was.”   

Holistic Approach to Wound Care 

The fact that the clinic is within the Lourdes campus was also beneficial to Eric’s care. During one of Eric’s sessions in the hyperbaric chamber, his blood pressure dropped to a dangerously low level. Carolyn remembers that rather than wait for an emergency team to arrive, Mary wheeled Eric over to the emergency department at Lourdes and stayed with them until the emergency care team took over. 

“They were there for us and supported us,” Carolyn says. “This is how wonderful they are.” 

Blanchard says having a support structure at home is also incredibly important for a wound patient, helping make sure they keep the wound properly dressed and clean. She credits Carolyn for being an integral part of managing Eric’s condition. 

“They are just such wonderful people, and she did her part in his wound care journey as well,” Blanchard says. 

The Lourdes Wound Care Clinic looks at each patient’s case individually to develop a customized plan that puts patient safety and quality of life first. The clinic also has the benefit of Juan Paredes, MD, as its medical director. Dr. Paredes is also a general surgeon. Blanchard says it’s rare for a wound clinic to have a dedicated provider like Dr. Paredes with a surgical background. 

“Our goal is to intervene early so we’re able to mitigate the risk of hospitalization and amputation,” Blanchard says. “Amputation risk is reduced by almost half when care can be provided by a wound care team. It’s really a holistic team approach.” 

That approach has helped the Lourdes Wound Care Clinic earn several awards in 2022 and 2023, such as the Robert A. Warriner III Clinical Excellence Award from Healogics, the largest wound care provider in the country. These awards recognize the clinic for excellence in clinical results and patient satisfaction. 

For Blanchard, though, the biggest reward is seeing the joy in her patients when they recover from their wounds.   

“When they heal, when they ring that bell in the clinic, it’s such a celebration, such an accomplishment,” she says. “With wounds, it’s not just physical pain. There can be shame and embarrassment and body image issues. They can feel trapped in their own home, and we’re getting them back to living their life and out of that pain. It’s so rewarding.” 

As Eric continues to get treatment for his wounds and circulation issues, he and Carolyn continue to look to the clinic for treatment and support. Eric has a lot of gratitude for the individualized care and compassion from the friendly clinic team.  

“I know they do that for others, too,” he says. “I wasn’t special. They are the ones who are special.”  

Learn about the specialized wound care we offer throughout our health system.

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