Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Achieves Success at Monongahela Valley Hospital

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Nick and Sally Marchese

When Sally Marchese of Bethel Park Township was told she may lose her foot, she was devastated. But after an encouraging debate, Sally and her husband contacted Monongahela Valley Hospital where they instilled hope into Sally’s life by sending her 33-feet below sea level.

During her recovery from a hip replacement, Sally developed a small bedsore on the back of her heel. Over time, the bedsore progressed and became infected, killing areas of tissue in her foot.

Understanding the dangers that could possibly occur if she didn’t acknowledge the infection, Sally and her supportive spouse, Nick Marchese, met with a physician in Pittsburgh. Following Sally’s in-office evaluation, the doctor noticed her foot wasn’t healing properly and suggested amputation.

“…I wasn’t ready to lose a part of me,” Sally said with determination.

A home nurse and home therapist from Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Associates Inc. (OSPTA), was caring for Sally after her surgery. When Sally told her caretakers of the devastating news, they told Sally and Nick about the educational presentation by Marc Cordero, M.D., of Monongahela Valley Hospital.

Dr. Cordero, a general surgeon, explained the healing effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy (HBOT) and how it may help many conditions.

Initially developed as a treatment for diving disorders, HBOT is now used as a non-invasive, painless, high-oxygen pressure therapy used for different conditions and illnesses such as hard-to-heal wounds, diabetic ulcers and radiation skin issues.

After learning of the possibilities HBOT had to offer, Sally’s caretakers quickly encouraged her and Nick to get a second opinion.

The following week, Sally and Nick contacted Dr. Cordero, and as they hoped, he suggested HBOT.

Dr. Cordero prescribed Sally’s HBOT treatments five days a week, and designated that she receive a two-hour dive, 33-feet below sea level during each visit in the hyperbaric chamber.

The term “dive” is used to describe the cycle of pressurization inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The pressure that is administered in the chamber is equivalent to the pressure a patient would experience if he or she were below sea level. When applying HBOT to different health conditions, the amount of pressure is individualized according to a patient’s illness.

“While receiving HBOT, a patient lies inside a comfortable, glass chamber while pure oxygen envelops the interior. In the beginning, Sally was hesitant to lie in the chamber because she’s a little claustrophobic,” said Cindy Watts, Hyperbaric Tech Director. “But after a couple treatments, she had no problem getting in and out.”

Currently, Sally has received more than 61 treatments and has seen a significant increase of oxygen flow to her foot.

“I want people to know what this hospital did for us,” said Nick.

Monongahela Valley Hospital acknowledges the significance of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and has recently begun infrastructure enhancements that will expand the Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment and Center for Wound Management program within the first floor of the Charles L. and Rose Sweeney Melenyzer Pavilion.

On Wednesday, May 25, at 6 p.m., Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon Gene Manzetti, M.D., along with a team of health care professionals, will present a free program to discuss wound management featuring the new hyperbaric oxygen therapy equipment at MVH.

The program is offered at the Mon-Vale HealthPLEX on Rt. 51 in Rostraver and registration is requested by calling 724-258-1333.