The hyperbaric chambers at St. Elizabeth's Health Center in Youngstown look somewhat like time machines and in a way that's kind of what they are. Of course, they don't rewind time. However, they do pump 100% pure oxygen, which, when inhaled, can help patients heal and return to feeling normal.
"We can pump a lot more oxygen into the tissues and that is how we can heal the wounds the generally won't heal without that type of intervention," said Humility of Mary Health Partners' hyperbaric medicine coordinator Mark Roth.
The chambers at St. Elizabeth's are approved to help treat 15 different conditions ranging from carbon monoxide poisoning to diabetic foot ulcers, like the one Jeffrey McIntyre suffered with for more than a year.
"So, I thought very much that I was going to lose my foot. I was in that frame of mind that I was going to lose my foot if I didn't do something," said Jeffrey McIntyre of Youngstown.
So as a last ditch effort to save his foot, Jeffrey decided to give hyperbaric therapy a try. After 40, two hour trips into the chamber his diabetic foot ulcer closed, giving him renewed hope and an improved quality of life.
"These guys here are super. The really are," said McIntyre.
Mark Roth, the hyperbaric medicine coordinator, says Jeffrey is among 80% of patients whose wounds close within eight weeks of therapy.
"Patients will go on and continue to heal as treatment ends. The goal is once we get that base of new tissue growing and new blood vessels feeding that are that healing process will continue on. It should never go backwards," said Roth.
Diabetic ulcers of the lower limbs and radiation induced tissue damage are the top reasons for using the chambers at St. Elizabeth's. Depending on a patient's condition, some only require one trip into the chamber. Other people can receive more than 100 treatments.