Decades before, his left foot had been severed in an accident. Doctors successfully reattached his foot. Kevin went on to raise a family and build a business around modular and mobile home repair. While he experienced some issues through the years, mostly numbness due to severed nerves, for the most part, his foot problems did not interfere with his life.
“For years I had no problem,” Campbell said. “Then, 13 years ago, the skin broke open where my foot had been reattached. I’d been working on a deck — hauling boards and bags of cement — and the next day I noticed a little hole in my foot.”
The wound was on the inside of the left foot near the ankle.
“It kept getting bigger and bigger and I just couldn’t get it to heal up,” Campbell said.
For the next several years, he self-treated and coped as best he could.
“I tried everything I could. I’d cut up my shoes so nothing would rub on it,” he said.
Three years ago, he sought help from Dr. Heidi E. Monaghan of Midland Podiatry Associates.
“I was to the point of having it amputated but Dr. Monaghan said she wouldn’t give up on me,” Campbell said.
The wound, though originally caused by the trauma of the accident, was diagnosed as a diabetic ulcer. While treatment did reduce the size of the wound by half, it did not totally heal.
“Then the Wound Treatment Center opened up,” Campbell said. “She sent me there and started treating me there.”
MidMichigan’s Wound Treatment Centers in Alma, Midland and Mount Pleasant provide specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds, which are defined as sores or wounds that have not healed after 30 days of conventional treatments. Non-healing wounds lead to lower quality of life and may lead to amputations if not properly treated.
Campbell’s treatments included debridement, which involves removing damaged or infected tissue. He also had specialty dressings applied including biological skin substitutes that work like skin grafts. From Campbell’s point of view, the most unusual treatment was hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-known treatment for decompression sickness, or the bends, a hazard of scuba diving. It also is a specialized treatment for problematic, non-healing wounds that meet specific criteria. During the treatments, the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. This quickly increases the concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream, where it is delivered to the wound site for faster healing, MidMichigan Health stated. It said this therapy can help reduce swelling, fight infection and build new blood vessels, ultimately producing healthy tissue.
While hesitant about getting into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which looks like a large glass tube, Campbell said the staff at the center was helpful and supportive.
“I was very apprehensive — it’s certainly a different sort of treatment,” he said. “I was in there for two hours at a time but it’s not bad. Someone is right there all the time and I could watch television through the glass. I had some trouble with my ears at first, and had to have tubes put in them, but after the first session, I was fine.”
Campbell had a total of 40 treatments in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. While his wound is classified as healed, Campbell knows he will have to closely manage his health for the rest of his life.
After suffering for years, he marvels at the progress he made in just a few months.
“I’ve come a long way in a short time and for that, I thank the Lord and I thank the people at the Wound Center,” he said. “They have a great crew out there and I hope they never leave.”