Patient credits wound care center with saving his life


Frank Conestabile scraped his ankle last fall. Although he did not think much of it at the time, today he said he is thankful for the scrape since it just might be responsible for saving his life.

The ankle got swollen and infected. When it did not heal after a few weeks, he realized he needed to seek professional help. Both his father and his wife had wounds treated successfully at Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care, so he decided to give them a call.

“I referred myself to them and happily they took me,” he said. “The first thing they did at the wound center when I got there was take my blood pressure. They told me that it was dangerously high, stroke level really, and they immediately sent me to the emergency room at Rome Memorial Hospital.”

The wound treatment had to wait until he was able to get his blood pressure under control. In addition, the practitioner who treated him in the emergency room found his blood sugar was also at a dangerously high level. Although these health issues were playing a part in his inability to heal, he didn’t know he had them. Seeking treatment for a non-healing wound at the wound center put him on the path to better overall health.

After the doctor put him on medications and a treatment plan to address his blood pressure and blood sugar, he was able to return to the wound center to begin treatment for his ankle injury.

Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Fields developed a treatment plan that involved debridement, which is the removal of damaged tissue, and a combination of medications to be used in conjunction with special compression bandages to help with blood flow to the injured area.

“Frank’s wounds were not healing because of circulation problems,” Fields said. “With the combination of advanced wound care products applied directly to the wound, weekly debridements and compression wrap therapy he was able to achieve wound healing.”

Fields credited a big part of the success to his willingness to comply with the recommendations at home. “Without patient compliance, sometimes it is very difficult to heal wounds if the plan of care is not followed,” Fields said.

Fields also explained that other health issues were also contributing to his healing problems. “Uncontrolled blood sugars can affect wound healing as the body’s consistently high sugar status does not create a good environment for wounds to heal,” she said. “It can cause very slow healing along with infection.”

“High blood pressure can also affect wound healing because the body has to work harder to pump the blood to the vital organs and the wound can suffer due to decreased blood flow,” Fields added.

Each week the wound continued to get smaller and smaller. Getting his blood sugar under control also contributed to his ability to heal. After 14 weeks of treatment, his wound was declared healed.

“If you have a wound that is not healing, you do not need a referral to be seen at the wound center,” Fields said. “However, we do work in collaboration with primary care and specialty doctors to ensure that they are kept up to date with the healing progress. If you are a self referral, your primary care doctor will be aware of your visits and progress.”

“Everyone at the wound center is so very nice and they treat you with such compassion, it really is a comforting place to come to,” Conestabile said. “They make you feel like you’re part of the family, they are such caring people and they provide the highest level of care.”

Because he sought help for his ankle wound at Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care, he received the treatment necessary to heal his ankle and he is now on the right path to improving his overall health.

“I have told so many people I know, and some I don’t even know, about the exceptional care I received from an amazing staff at the wound center,” he said. “These people, all of them, are just outstanding. I’m not sure you could ask for anything better than the treatment I received. I certainly credit them for making me take care of my other conditions by sending me to the emergency room after my first visit. They helped me realize that I needed to get into better health so I could finally heal, and I really believe they may have saved my life.”


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