When it comes to treating wounds, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville just got bigger and better. In its newly renovated suite, the outpatient Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine center at Texas Health Stephenville will be the first to offer residents of Erath and surrounding communities a highly specialized hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a wound therapy that involves the medical use of oxygen to help heal wounds.

"The number of Americans who suffer from diabetes and lower extremity oxygen deficiencies is growing, so access to this type of therapy is paramount," said Patty Weidemann, program director of wound care services at Texas Health Stephenville. "We are excited about the addition of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to complement our existing services and to offer patients the advanced care they need in a location closer to home."

The new center features more exam rooms along with two hyperbaric oxygen chambers that can be used to treat patients who suffer from wounds that can be caused by a variety of conditions and circumstances.

During hyperbaric oxygen treatment, patients undergo a two-hour treatment session where they breathe in 100 percent pure oxygen. The therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the blood which helps to promote tissue function, fight infection and heal wounds faster. The oxygen-rich air saturates the blood plasma allowing it to carry approximately 15 to 20 times the normal amount of healing oxygen to the body's tissues.

"For patients suffering from non-healing wounds, life can be painful and challenging," Weidemann said. "There is a definite need for this service in the community, so offering it locally saves patients time and resources and improves their quality of life."

The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine center at Texas Health Stephenville has been serving Stephenville and the surrounding communities since 2006, but to receive hyperbaric oxygen treatments, patients previously had to commute more than an hour to a specialized hyperbaric center. And with doctors typically recommending one treatment a day for up to four to six weeks, hospital leaders saw a need to bring the advanced care closer to home for local residents.

"We are pleased to be able to grow our already successful wound care program to now include hyperbaric oxygen therapy," said Christopher Leu, president of Texas Health Stephenville. "This is a unique service in our area that enables our wound care team of professionals to add a proven therapy to treat patients with debilitating wounds and more importantly to help improve their quality of life."

To learn more or schedule an appointment at Wound Care Services at Texas Health Stephenville, call 254-965-1171.