Don Zook, Former Wound Healing Center Patient
Written by Hollie D. Tometich : “You saved my life” – those are the words that Donny Zook says with a smile when talking about his healthcare team of Ottumwa Regional’s Wound Healing Center, Dr. Vannucci, and Dr. Anderson. In 1995, Donny had a growth on the side of his neck that was surgically removed by Dr. Anderson, ENT. “I asked the doc if it was the size of a golf ball, and he told me it was the size of 2 golf balls and that it was cancer, so I needed treatment right away.”
Donny went on to receive 38 treatments of radiation and not too long after his treatment ended, he started loosing teeth. Donny went to oral surgeons in Iowa City and they concluded that in order to have the rest of his teeth extracted, he would need to have Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy before and after extraction.
“During Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), the patient breathes 100% oxygen while enclosed in a pressurized chamber at greater than 2.0 atmospheres for 90 to 120 minutes,” explained Dr. Gerald Paluska, Medical Director of the Wound Healing Center. “This provides 15 to 20 times the normal amount of oxygen to the body’s tissues, which stimulates healing. It has also been effective in preventing or reducing complications in patients who require teeth removal within a previously irradiated field.”
Due to insurance issues, Donny was unable to receive HBOT right away and within a year, he developed a sinus tract. “I basically had a hole in my chin. I went to see Dr. Vannucci and he said ‘You’re gonna die – you need hyperbaric oxygen.’ He referred me to the Wound Healing Center at Ottumwa Regional and I was approved for treatment.”
“Being placed in the chamber can be intimidating for some folks,” stated Sheena Clark, Hyperbaric Tech. “I usually do a dry-run, where we go step by step through the process before they actually start treatment and show them that I’ll be sitting with them by their chamber throughout their treatment.”
“I am claustrophobic,” said Donny, “they babied me really! They explained everything and were professional.”
“Donny had HBOT done here in Ottumwa and then completely healed,” stated Dr. Vannucci. “He benefited greatly– he would likely not have improved with out HBO therapy.”
“It’s important for folks to know that they don’t have to run off to Des Moines or Iowa City for treatment – we can get it right here” stated Donny.
“That’s a wonderful service to patients – to have a wound management center that specializes in this treatment and stays current on the latest therapies,” stated Dr. Vannucci. “It’s not just appropriate for patients that I see, but would also be great for patients of general surgery, podiatry and those who deal with diabetes, pressure ulcers, and other non-healing wounds.”