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ECMC dedicates new wound center

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Photo by Mark Scott
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ECMC CEO Jody Lomeo speaks at Wound Center dedication

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-954455.mp3

Buffalo, NY – A state-of-the-art center to treat open wounds and ulcers was dedicated Thursday at the Erie County Medical Center.

Dozens of physicians, nurses and patients gathered inside the new wound center. It has two hyperbaric oxygen chambers that provide pressured oxygen to help wounds heal before they worsen to the point where amputation is needed.

ECMC's CEO Jody Lomeo said it's a treatment professional football players have been receiving for years.

"These hyperbaric chambers do help people heal faster. They are more efficient," Lomeo said. "Like NFL players, we believe here we're going to give our patients VIP treatment."

Western New York has a higher-than average rate of diabetes. Many diabetes patients develop wounds on their extremities that don't heal. The Wound Center's manager, Elizabeth Engler, says these patients who are now referred to ECMC are put in the pressurized chamber for a couple of hours a day over a two week period.

"The patient is taken two atmospheres below sea level," Engler explained. "With that pressure, blood vessels open up and oxygen is able to get to the affected area and the healing can begin."

Wayne Fuller is a radio personality from Batavia who is being treated for foot ulcers. He compared it to taking a trip on an airplane.

"It's like a flight to Tampa. You're in there about two hours and ten minutes. You feel the pressure," Fuller explained. "But you don't get any peanuts and you're not in Tampa when you get there."

The ECMC Wound Center opened two months ago and has already treated 100 patients. It was created as part of the collaboration with the new umbrella organization Great Lakes Health, which has brought ECMC and Kaleida Health together.

Similar facilities at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle are being closed.