According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, roughly 6.5 million people suffer from chronic wounds that are slow to heal. These types of wounds can be life threatening if not treated properly.
“These are not your typical cuts and scrapes and surgical incisions. These are open wounds due to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and poor circulation,” said Aurangzeb Ali, MD, system medical director for wound care and hyperbaric medicine for Hartford HealthCare.
Doctor Ali says wound care patients started cancelling their scheduled appointments back in March as COVID-19 began to spread across Connecticut. For months, some of these patients have allowed their wounds to go untreated, thinking they could tend to them at home. The message now is for those patients to return for examination and treatment as soon as possible.
“The dangerous part about having an open wound is that if it doesn’t get seen by a specialist these wounds don’t tend to stay the same and improve spontaneously,” said Dr. Ali. Adding that a wound can erode deeper into muscle or bone and result in disability or even amputation. Some of the wounds treated in the New Britain, Bristol, and Meriden locations, as well as at other Hartford HealthCare wound care locations throughout the system, include:
Diabetic foot ulcers
Venous stasis ulcers
Wounds caused by circulatory problems
Non-healing surgical wounds
Hartford HealthCare has taken significant steps in all of its hospitals and facilities to assure patient and employee safety. Such as screening for fever/symptoms, requiring everyone to wear a mask, enhanced cleaning on all high-use surfaces, and COVID testing for patients, days prior to a scheduled surgery. A patient, visitor or employee displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed into any Hartford HealthCare building.
Jasmine Robinson-Jamison began receiving wound treatment back in March due to a serious infection in her foot. She was in the hospital almost daily for hyperbaric treatment up until mid-June.
“I felt very safe,” said Robinson-Jamison. “I had no worries, I wasn’t afraid.” Robinson-Jamison says her wound care physician, Aziz Benbrahim, MD, kept her updated with what was going on with the pandemic and made sure she was taking the proper safety precautions.
“We are getting the message across to our patients that a visit to our wound care centers is highly organized and monitored and it is safe to come in,” said Dr. Ali.
Established patients or new patients are encouraged to call the Advanced Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center to get their treatments back on track if they were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ali says an initial call will most likely start with a telehealth visit so a wound can be examined through the camera. At that point the appropriate bandaging or care can be determined or the patient will be asked to come in for an in-person visit.
Dr. Aurangzeb Ali is he System Medical Director for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine for Hartford HealthCare. For more information, visit, hartfordhealthcare.org/woundcare or call 860.224.5193 (New Britain), 860.584.8379 (Bristol) or 203.694.5390 (Meriden)