Saving Limbs and Lives: Clark Regional Medical Center, Honors Patient with Wound Care Hero Award

Published 2:31 pm Monday, July 12, 2021

Winchester, KY (July 9, 2021) – The Center for Wound Care at Clark Regional Medical Center (CRMC) recently presented its inaugural ‘Wound Care Hero Award’ to LaVonna Tipton for demonstrating exceptional fortitude during treatment despite challenging circumstances. The award honors wound care patients who are positive, inspirational, compliant and show an extraordinary commitment to treatment.

“This award celebrates the unsung heroes of wound care: the patients,” said Jack Arnold, M.D., medical director of the Center for Wound Care. “From the first day of treatment, LaVonna’s dedication and participation was nothing short of outstanding. She came in every day during the COVID-19 crisis, and that was not easy. We greatly admire her strength and resilience.”

Last October after fighting a brave battle with skin cancer of the scalp and undergoing several operations and skin grafts, Tipton was left with open wounds on her head and lower limbs. Her surgeons were unable to heal the wounds and she became extremely depressed.

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“They took a big chunk out of my ankle for grafting and after two months you could still see my bone,” said Tipton. “I was crying all the time and didn’t know if I could go on living. Thanks to a family friend I was referred to the wound care team at Clark Regional and everything changed for the better.”

After an initial evaluation, Dr. Arnold prescribed hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to promote faster healing. With help from her husband and daughter, Tipton came in for 90-minute sessions five days a week for one month.

During HBOT, the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen in a highly pressurized chamber to bring oxygen-rich plasma to tissues and help speed wound healing. It is used for more than a dozen conditions including compromised skin grafts or flaps, diabetic wounds that are not healing, delayed radiation injury, crush injuries and osteomyelitis, among other conditions.

“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an amazing treatment and in LaVonna’s case it has literally been a life-saver,” said Dr. Arnold. “After one month, she’s healing quite nicely. The entire team is thrilled for her because she’s getting her life back.”

According to Dr. Arnold, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can speed healing and, in turn, save limbs and lives. Tipton agrees.

“I’m living proof that hyperbaric oxygen therapy works,” she said. “I’m doing well. The team at Clark Regional took me seriously and treated me like family since day one and that means a whole lot. I’m honored to be selected as the first recipient of the ‘Wound Care Hero award.’ ”

If you or someone you love is in need of specialized wound care, call the Center for Wound Care at Clark Regional Medical Center at 859-737-6655.