For Vietnam veteran Ted Soppe, an amputation of his right foot was becoming more and more of a reality. After a partial foot resection on August 22, 2018, Ted’s surgical incision opened, causing him a great deal of health problems.
Leaning on hope, Ted chose the UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital Wound and Hyperbaric Center, which was where his care journey began with Dr. David Arnold.
“We were having no success with the foot healing,” Ted said. “My sister’s husband told her, ‘Why doesn’t he check out the Wound Center?’ That’s how it all started.”
After first assessing the wound, Dr. Arnold gave Ted the assurance he had been waiting for – his foot didn’t need to be amputated.
“It was the greatest feeling in the world,” Ted said. “You just can’t describe that feeling. When I found out that amputation was possible, it kind of put me in the dumps. But, when Dr. Arnold said amputation wasn’t needed, it was a great feeling.”
While it felt like the greatest outcome to Ted, Dr. Arnold said that is the goal of the services that the Wound and Hyperbaric Center offers.
“Limb salvage is the expressed goal of the Finley Wound and Hyperbaric Center,” Dr. Arnold said. “As a Certified Wound and Hyperbaric Physician, it is extremely gratifying to offer patients like Ted Soppe a realistic alternative to amputation. This is only possible through a highly-effective team of doctors, nurses, hyperbaric technicians, office managers and administrative personnel.”
One of the best parts of Ted’s experience at Finley’s Wound Clinic was the wide treatment options that Dr. Arnold and his staff presented to Ted.
Ted knows for certain, “it was a team effort.”
“One day I asked Dr. Arnold, ‘What if the wound doesn’t close up all of the way?’ He told me, ‘I’ve got other tricks up my sleeve.’ He used grafts and the clinic had many methods of getting this wound clear and closed up. I would say that it was a good choice on our part.”
A few of those “tricks” included advanced dressings, such as Wound VAC therapy, which is negative pressure therapy that rapidly fills in soft tissue that was needed to cover muscle, tendon and exposed bone, along with IV antibiotics, nutrition supplementation, bioengineered skin grafts and orthotic specialty consultation.
One of the reasons that Ted’s foot was struggling to heal was the lack of blood flow that was getting to his right foot.
To combat the wound that was troubling Ted’s foot, he utilized the Wound Center’s hyperbaric chamber, a machine that delivers oxygen to the body’s blood and tissue. In total, Ted underwent 60 hyperbaric chamber treatments.
That’s when Dr. Arnold and his staff knew starting Ted on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was a wise choice that allowed Ted’s foot to begin the healing process.
“This richly-oxygenated blood increased the immediate availability of tissue oxygen, but also stimulated new microvascular growth at the wound site, thereby supporting and maintaining long-term, satisfactory healing,” Dr. Arnold said.
For Ted, utilizing the hyperbaric chamber as a form of wound treatment was a positive experience.
“I did it for 60 treatments,” Ted said. “It gradually healed. He [Dr. Arnold] just knows his stuff, and I am not sure of better words to use. He’s very good at what he does, and I thank the hospital for having that machine.”
Another partnership that played a part in Ted’s success story is the Skilled Nursing Facility Care Program, as Manor Care Health Services and UnityPoint Health are partners.
The Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) is a partnership program that has developed a network of preferred providers at post-acute care facilities that works closely to coordinate the care of patients beyond the hospital walls. The care plan begins at the hospital and then is carried out by the team at the SNF facility, ranging from managing patients’ day-to-day needs, ensuring the nursing facility continues the plan of care through communication and coordination, teach patients about conditions, medications and steps to recovery and communicate with the admitting provider and other providers who will care for the patient after leaving the nursing facility.
Dr. Arnold is thankful for the opportunity to work with the Manor Care team and its residents, like Ted, because the benefits can be life changing and ensures the Wound and Hyperbaric Center goals are upheld to the highest standards.
“The UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital Wound and Hyperbaric Center offers subspecialty care by a team of certified medical personnel to patients with difficult chronic wounds that have not or would not heal under standard therapy,” Dr. Arnold said. “We have nationally-recognized best practice protocols that are followed and monitored to ensure predictable healing outcomes. One would also be remiss without mentioning the outstanding collaborative efforts of Manor Care, who worked together with our Hyperbaric Department to allow ongoing treatments, while still receiving services at their facility.”
As part of the SNF partnership, the Wound and Hyperbaric Center utilizes their outreach program with Vicki Jensen, Wound Care ARNP. Vicki performs weekly wound care rounds to the partnered SNF programs and other long-term facilities.
Vicki was thrilled with the results of Ted’s Wound and Hyperbaric Center’s treatments, because she knew healing was important to the patient.
“Ted was very motivated to heal, so we are so happy to give Ted that chance to lead as normal of a life as he can and do what he enjoys,” Vicki said. “Now that he is completely healed and has a custom orthotic shoe to support his foot, he is working with physical therapy at ManorCare with the goal of going home soon.”
With his treatments complete, Ted is anxiously looking toward a pain-free future.
Another goal Ted has set for himself is to be able to walk without assistance, something he knows would not be possible without the Wound and Hyperbaric Center at Finley Hospital.
“I want to walk real good again,” Ted said. “I would be happy with just walking where I don’t need crutches or anything. It will happen, but it’s a slow process. It took a good staff to get there.”