According to the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, the loss of a limb due to severe infection in diabetics is not uncommon.

Nearly 15 percent of all diabetics will develop chronic wounds. Approximately 70,000 diabetics will undergo amputation each year.

Juan Mendoza is among 8.6 percent of the population of Washington state diagnosed with Diabetes in 2016, that’s a little more than 53,000 people, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HBOT treatment helps the body’s wound-healing process function more efficiently.

Patients undergoing this type of treatment are placed in an enclosed chamber at greater-than-normal atmospheric pressure. They are also breathing pure oxygen during treatment which saturates the blood plasma and allows it to carry 15 to 20 times the normal amount of healing oxygen to the body’s tissue to heal chronic or severe wounds.

While Mendoza needs additional orthopedic procedures to help him get back to work and doing what he loves, he is now healthy and happy thanks to the Wound Care team at Astria Sunnyside Hospital.

“With the high incidence of diabetes and the chance of severe wound infections among diabetic patients, Dr. Tracy Berg and Astria Health working to create awareness of the need for appropriate wound care treatment among diabetic patients living in the Valley,” Dawn O’Polka, Astria Health Chief Communications Executive said.

She said the goal of the Wound Care Center at Astria Sunnyside Hospital is to help patients avoid amputation due to chronic wounds.

For more information about the Wound Care Center at Astria Sunnyside Hospital, call 509-837-1500 or visit the Astria Health website www.astria.health.

SUNNYSIDE — A trip to the emergency room in December may have saved Juan Mendoza’s life, according to Astria Sunnyside Hospital Surgeon Dr. Tracy Berg.

Without the hospital’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) chambers and the expert care of the Wound Care team, “… amputation was imminent,” said Dr. Berg, a recent addition to the Astria hospital staff.

Luckily, Mendoza, 41, of Mabton, was able to avoid losing a limb, “… and quite possibly, his life,” she said.

Mendoza’s injury started as a simple blister caused by new tennis shoes.

He assumed the small skin abrasion would resolve itself with simple home remedies. But, because Mendoza is diabetic, the blister became a severe diabetic ulcer and threatened his life.

The infection was deep in the limb tissue and had reached the bone by the time he arrived at hospital’s emergency room.

Lucky for Mendoza, he was met there by General Surgeon Dr. Berg, who specializes in wound care treatment, said Dawn O’Polka, the hospital’s chief communications executive.

With Berg’s team, she was immediately able to assess the severity of the wound and the threat to Juan’s life, said O’Polka.

Thankfully, the hospital’s Wound Care Center is fully equipped with HBOT technology and a trained team of specialists to help patients like Juan.

Dr. Berg, originally from Spokane, who specializes in vascular surgery, was able to begin treatment immediately, O’Polka explained.

On Jan. 4, Mendoza completed his 40th and final HBOT treatment at the Wound Care Center.

“He is now on his way to a full recovery,” O’Polka said.

Years ago, Juan’s brother died from a septic diabetic ulcer.

“I am so lucky,” said Mendoza.

“This team—they know what they’re doing, and they keep me going,” he said.

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