RMC Wound Center Provides Advanced Healing Treatments

Patient Tommy Jennings received hyperbaric oxygen therapy as part of an interdisciplinary treatment strategy to save his left leg at the Wound Center at RMC.

RMC Wound Center Provides Advanced Healing Treatments
ORANGEBURG, SC – The Advanced Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at the Regional
Medical Center (RMC) saves limbs and lives with state-of-the-art treatments and
interdisciplinary teamwork.
“They saved my leg. I wish I would have come earlier,” said Tommy Jennings from Branchville,
SC, and former patient at the Wound Center.
Jennings suffered from tissue loss in his left foot as result of poor circulation, a complication of
diabetes. After 10 years of pain, travel to Columbia to receive treatment, a partial amputation of
his great toe and an unsuccessful bypass attempt, Jennings’ foot would not heal. He was told
there was nothing that could be done to save his leg and it would need to be amputated. He felt
defeated and desperate to find relief from his suffering.
Not satisfied with that report, Jennings and his wife Brenda put their faith in the Advanced
Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center at RMC. The center is a hospital-based outpatient service
that provides treatments for a variety of chronic, non-healing wounds. Treatments are researchbased,
and include best clinical practices in wound management, such as debridement, negative
pressure wound therapy, biosynthetic skin substitutes, infusion therapy, as well as hyperbaric
oxygen therapy. Referrals to the Advanced Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center are particularly
appropriate for patients with a wound that has not healed within 30 days.
Jennings was evaluated by the Wound Center Medical Director and Infectious Disease Specialist
John Samies, MD, FSHEA, CWS and Marie Gehling, MSN, NP-C, CWOCN. A LUNA ICG
perfusion scan was performed on Jennings’ lower left leg. LUNA Fluorescence Angiography
evaluates the amount of perfusion or flow of blood that can reach a wound. To perform the scan,
a patient is given a non-toxic dye intravenously and then perfusion levels are measured as the
affected area is viewed in real time.
RMC was the first hospital in South Carolina to have LUNA technology, and it has significantly
reduced diagnosis and treatment times in limb salvage and also in surgical settings as it shows
physicians exactly where perfusion problems exist in real time. Prior to LUNA, tissue loss was
evaluated solely by external visual observation of the physical tissue changes over time.
After a review of Jennings’ LUNA scan results, Dr. Samies and Gehling determined that the
application of pressurized oxygen to the wound through hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
could possibly increase perfusion, improve microcirculation, create new collateral blood flow
and potentially save his leg.
“When he was receiving his therapy, Dr. Samies or Gehling were always around, they always
explained everything, and left nothing to the imagination. We always knew what was going on,”
said his wife Brenda, “I can’t say enough good things about the RMC Wound Center.”
After Jennings’ began HBOT treatment, the Wound Center team then referred Jennings to Dion
Franga, MD, FACS, RPVI, general and vascular surgeon for RMC. Dr. Franga performed an
arteriogram, or an x-ray of Jenning’s arteries, to determine the possibility of surgical
revascularization for his foot.

Not only did Dr. Franga find two arteries that would allow for a bypass surgery to improve
circulation to Jennings’ foot, Dr. Franga also found a blockage in Jennings’ neck that could have
eventually led to life-threatening stroke, as well as an aneurysm that could have also ended
Jennings’ life.
Jennings underwent the lower leg bypass surgery, and the results were dramatic. While Jennings
still required a transmetatarsal amputation of his left forefoot, he went from immobility to being
able to walk again. Jennings’ hope had returned. Dr. Franga performed subsequent surgeries to
remove the blockage in Jennings’ neck and to remove his aneurysm. All surgeries were
successful.
“Dr. Samies and Ms. Gehling don’t accept ‘nothing can be done’ until they give it the ‘full court
press’,” said Dr. Franga, “We work well together combining complex therapies and teamwork.
Dr. Samies and Ms. Gehling saw Mr. Jennings move from the Wound Center to the operating
room in a matter of days, not weeks. As each day passes more tissue dies. Rapid workups,
interventions and advanced modalities make the Wound Center really unique, and it provides a
lot of resources.”
“The combined efforts of the Wound Center and Vascular Surgery teams at RMC have greatly
improved the lives of many patients like Mr. Jennings,” said Dr. Franga. “Major vascular
interventions, many of which are minimally invasive, combined with the many treatment options
performed by the Wound Center have greatly reduced the number of amputations.”
The Jennings’ encourage the community to take advantage of the world-class treatment available
at RMC. They credit the relationships they formed with the Wound Center team as well as Dr.
Franga and the Palmetto Surgical Group at RMC for their exceptional experience.
“We went out of town originally, and we were blown away that we have all of this at our front
door. Check the resources here, ask around. No hospital stay is perfect, but it is what you make
of it. You have to be giving, accepting, and trusting…it’s about relationships,” said Mrs.
Jennings.
This interdisciplinary team credits not only the aggressiveness of treatment and the teamwork
between the Wound Center and Franga’s surgical team for Jennings’ recovery and success, but
also the hope and determination of the patients to see themselves through their treatment with
optimal results.
“They see it as us, we see it as them,” said Gehling, “It’s up to them to control blood sugars, to
keep their wounds offloaded. Mr. Jennings did better than his part and he gets to walk away from
here. Having patients know that there are alternative solutions out there, or that everything
possible has been done is important. Wounds take from people; it’s up to us to give something
back.”

About the Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg & Calhoun Counties
The Regional Medical Center, in Orangeburg, S.C., is a 286-bed acute-care facility, employing
more than 1,200 healthcare professionals. Serving Orangeburg and Calhoun counties and
surrounding areas, RMC is accredited by The Joint Commission and has Advanced Certification
as a Primary Stroke Center. RMC offers a 24-hour emergency department and a full-range of
high-quality medical services such as same day surgery, orthopaedics, obstetrics, cardiology,
cancer care, dialysis access and the latest in diagnostic imaging. The Regional Medical Center
also operates nine Primary Care practices, three Cardiology practices, an Orthopaedics practice,
two Surgery practices, an Internal medicine practice, an Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
practice, and an Obstetrics/Gynecology practice, as well as after-hours Urgent Care with
physician, lab and X-Ray in Santee and Bamberg. RMC’s Mobile Services van provides digital
mammography throughout the region. For more information, visit www.trmchealth.org.