JOPLIN, MO-- A local hospital now has a new option to treat patients who are having a tough time healing.
"Hyperbaric oxygen is used for patients who don't have enough blood supply to the wounds to get them to heal adequately. You and I sitting here breathing room air is 21 percent oxygen. So by breathing oxygen under pressure, you raise the level of dissolved oxygen in your plasma up to 20 times." Dr. Joseph Newman says that can be crucial for certain patients. "Your body has to have a certain level of oxygen at the tissue level to initiate the healing processes."
A treatment in the hyperbaric chamber usually deals with a wound that takes more than two weeks to heal. "Each treatment is bout 90 minutes. Each treatment builds upon the previous treatment." The regimen can call for 20 - 40 sessions, in some cases, up to 60. It often involves patients with circulation issues - like diabetics and those undergoing radiation. Freeman has three chambers available for treatment, including the newest addition which can accomodate patients of all sizes. "It's designed for patients up to 750 pounds."