Six years ago, Eric Wiegand was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent a series of successful radiation treatments. But, years later, he began experiencing excruciating abdominal pain and discomfort and could only manage to eat once a day.
This past May, Wiegand went to the emergency room at Putnam Hospital for his symptoms. He was diagnosed with bleeding in his bladder and bowels. Surgery was performed to drain the bleeding, but his tissues were still very fragile and damaged.
After surgery, Wiegand spent three weeks in the hospital. During this time, his urologist referred him to Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Putnam Hospital, where Dr. Adam Semegran, medical director of the program, recommended hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy to repair the damaged tissue.
"We knew HBO therapy would be the best treatment option for Eric," explained Dr. Semegran.
HBO involves lying in a special chamber and breathing in pure oxygen in air pressure two to three times higher than normal.
“HBO therapy is a safe, noninvasive treatment that helps to repair tissue damaged from radiation,” says Program Director Christina Liptak. “It uses 100 percent oxygen under pressure to enhance the body’s ability to heal.”
When Wiegand first visited the center, he was very weak. His wife wheeled him into the waiting room for his first appointment, and staff helped him stand up and transfer. After 60 HBO treatments, the wound care team was thrilled to watch him walk out the door and drive himself home.
“Sixty treatments later, and Eric is like a new man!” Dr. Semegran exclaimed.
When he was discharged from the center, Wiegand was eager to rejoin family activities and spend time with his first grandchild on the way.
“After HBO therapy, I can walk and drive again,” he said. “I eat three meals a day, and I can climb the stairs in my house, something I was not able to do before treatment.”
Wiegand said his healing journey was a team effort. The dedicated, experienced staff were his partners in wound healing.
“The sensitivity, empathy and hope provided by the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine team left a lasting impression on me,” he said.