When it comes to wound care, patience isn’t always a virtue. “One
of the biggest challenges in healing wounds is people waiting too long
to seek treatment,” says Meredith Reilly, director of the Southeast
Georgia Health System Wound Care Center. The Health System operates the
Center in conjunction with Healogics, the nation’s largest wound
According to a Healogics study, two-thirds of patients who seek specialized
wound care within the first 30 days healed within one month. Non-healing
wounds are common with people that have diabetes and blood flow issues
(arterial and venous), or those who are at risk of developing pressure
wounds due to difficulty moving or inability to easily change position
while seated or in bed.
Reilly remembers two diabetic patients who illustrate the importance of
early intervention. The first arrived at the Center three weeks after
stepping on a nail. His wound healed within 24 days with specialized wound
care. The second self-treated his lacerated foot at home for eight weeks.
When he finally sought treatment, his wound was deep and infected, with
exposed bone. The wound took 16 weeks to heal and required IV (intravenous)
antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and surgical debridement of the bone.
“The Health System Wound Care Center team offers advanced wound
care treatment to patients suffering from wounds,” says Eric C.
Segerberg, M.D., board-certified general surgeon and medical director
of the Health System’s Wound Care Center. “We are the largest
wound care center in coastal Georgia, offering our patients access to
state of the art outpatient clinical wound care and hyperbaric oxygen
Hyperbaric oxygen or HBO therapy is an advanced treatment instrumental
in healing diabetic wounds, radiation tissue damage and crush injuries.
During an HBO treatment, the patient inhales concentrated amounts of oxygen
in order to speed the healing process. The extra oxygen is transported
by the bloodstream to the rest of the body, promoting a natural healing
process that aids in wound closure, new tissue growth and wound tissue
regeneration. The Center has three hyperbaric chambers.
When should you seek treatment for a troublesome wound? “Any wound
that doesn’t heal within four weeks is considered a chronic wound
needing specialized care. However, it is never too early to seek treatment.
If you’re a diabetic with a break in your skin, you should have
your wound assessed as soon as possible,” says Ashley Holland, R.N.,
the Center’s clinical nurse manager.
“A chronic non-healing wound in and of itself is not a disease;
it is the result of an underlying condition,” adds Segerberg. “Each
year, millions of Americans suffer from chronic wounds. The incidence
of chronic wounds is rising, fueled by an aging population and increasing
rates of diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and the late
effects of radiation therapy. The Wound Care Center specializes in treating
these chronic, non-healing wounds.”
People postpone treatment for several reasons. “Denial plays a part,
but many don’t understand the seriousness of a wound,” says
Segerberg explains that left untreated, chronic wounds can lead to diminished
quality of life and possibly amputation of the affected limb. Advanced
wound care, as part of a comprehensive care plan can help heal patients
faster than traditional methods. In addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy,
advanced wound care can include negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered
skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor
With specialized training, Segerberg and his staff treat chronic wounds
using highly effective methods. They track each patient’s healing
process weekly, taking measurements and following evidence-based care
guidelines. “Our doctors, nurses and hyperbaric oxygen techs have
advanced wound care training that exceeds what most general medical practitioners
have,” says Segerberg.
Working with other medical practitioners is key to wound care. “For
example, when diabetics aren’t controlling their disease, we refer
them back to the primary doctor to manage their diabetes while we treat
their wounds,” Segerberg notes.
For more information, call the Wound Care Center at 912-466-5350 or visit