Physicians converge on Grass Valley for wound care, hyperbaric medicine conference |

Physicians converge on Grass Valley for wound care, hyperbaric medicine conference

Gary Cooke
Special to The Union

Physicians and other health care professionals from throughout the region will converge on Grass Valley April 7 for a Wound Care Symposium highlighting the effectiveness of hyperbaric medicine – the use of highly oxygenated blood to help the body heal.

Sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, the dinner event will be at the Holbrooke Hotel beginning at 6 p.m., according to Michelle Harris, FNP, wound center manager.

"This is a new event," Harris said. "We try to offer community and physician outreach and education often. Our last event was a community-wide foot screening, and this time we are reaching out to our area physicians."

Invitations were sent to local physicians as well as doctors from Yuba City, Auburn, Colfax, Downieville and Roseville.

At the symposium, Harris and Medical Director Bruce Lattyak, MD, will offer an overview of services provided by the center. Featured speaker J. Thomas Millington, Jr., MD, a leading authority in the field of wound care and hyperbaric medicine, will share the most recent data supporting the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, especially in the healing of complex wounds, Dr. Lattyak said.

Patients using this therapy are placed in a sealed chamber where they breathe pure oxygen, and their blood carries the extra oxygen through their systems to stimulate the body's own healing functions. The therapy can help people whose wounds won't heal, or those with diabetic ulcers, crush injuries, gangrene, skin or bone infections, radiation injuries, burns, skin grafts and other conditions, Harris said. Dr. Lattyak added that they have also been successful using the therapy for treating secondary conditions related to radiation treatment for head and neck cancers.

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"Chronic, complex wounds are unfortunately very common in our community," Dr. Lattyak explained. "These wounds often have a myriad of factors impeding wound healing, like diabetes, radiation injury, peripheral vascular disease, pressure sores or malnutrition. Trying to keep up on all of these issues can be daunting in the primary care setting. Without prompt and appropriate care, delayed wound healing impacts quality of life, adds to the cost of health care, and in some instances can result in amputation, particularly diabetic wounds."

In part, Harris said, the symposium is an attempt to acquaint the regional medical community with the advanced care technologies available at the center.

"I hope they'll walk away with the knowledge of what technology is right here to benefit their patients and their wound healing progress," she said. "The symposium will answer questions regarding what hyperbaric medicine is, how it works, and who can benefit."

"Our center is a place of specialized care where all of the factors influencing wound health are evaluated to provide the optimum conditions for healing," Dr. Lattyak said. "We have a full time wound care support staff as well as specialists in general and plastic surgery and podiatry. We provide advanced wound products, specialized dressings, human tissue cultured grafts, and hyperbaric therapy. We collaborate with referring providers and once the wound is healed, the patient is referred back to the primary care physician."

The center includes six specialty physicians and podiatrists, one nurse practitioner, and two wound care certified registered nurses, in addition to the hyperbaric oxygen therapy program, Harris said. The staff performs about 1,500 hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments and sees about 4,000 patients annually.

"I see wound care patients every day from the start of their care to the healing of their wounds," Harris said. "Some of these patients have been living with their problem for a year or more. The happiness they express when they are discharged is beyond words. We ring a bell in the front office to show our excitement for every patient who heals. Our wound center is not only a valued service to our community, but also a wonderful place to work."

"We have helped heal thousands of wounds," Dr. Lattyak noted. "Our success rate and healing time are above the national average for wound centers."

Dr. Millington, who maintains a private practice in Thousand Oaks, has been a physician since 1974 and has specialized in wound treatment and hyperbaric medicine since 1983. He serves on the staff of Valley Presbyterian Hospital and Los Robles Regional Medical Center and has a consulting relationship with the SNMH Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center.

For information about the symposium or wound center services, call 530-272-8619. The center is located at 300 Sierra College Dr., Ste. 270, in Grass Valley.

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.

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