Story of Healing: Jimmy Hammonds

Jimmy Hammonds: It started on a Sunday morning, and I got in a recliner and I had a sore on the bottom of my foot. I went to the pediatrist, and we tried to cure it. At the time, I knew it was diabetic. I’d always heard about people with diabetes losing their legs. I thought everything was going good and it wasn’t. And the circulation was bad. When he took the bandage off, and he says, “you’ve got bones sticking out of your toe.” He says, “I don’t know what to do about it other than take you to the wound care and see if they’ll take you as a patient.” That’s how I ended up at Healogics.

Dr. Anamika Agrawal, DO (Healogics Panel Physician): He had a diabetic foot ulcer, and the infection was down into the bone.

Dawn Weber, RN (Nurse case manager): Normally when we see patients come in, we look at their wounds and we kind of have a plan of what we want to do, the products we want to use. When people have bone exposed, it makes things a little bit different.

Jimmy Hammonds: They thought that a series of hyperbaric chambers would heal the problem and get some skin over my toe.

Dr. Agrawal: The hyperbaric chamber works by providing 100% oxygenation. It is pressurized oxygen. It helps to provide regeneration of some of these blood vessels that have been compromised. Because typically diabetes can cause microvascular changes, we wanted to make sure that he was getting the maximum amount of oxygen to help regenerate the tissues, to help save his leg, and make that ulcer heal completely.

Jimmy Hammonds: They introduced me to the hyperbaric chamber, and they take you two atmosphere down. And you go through the sensation of pressure, and everything kind of relaxes until you get ready to come back up.

Gregory Speicher, EMT-P, CHT (Safety Director): One challenging part of the treatment with Jimmy was we were probably about a fourth to a third of a way into it, and he kind of plateaued.

Nurse Weber: We went through several different modalities of treatment here. And we got to a point where we pretty much exhausted everything single thing we could think of.

Jimmy Hammonds: I feltvery helpless. I was terrified, if you want to know the truth, of losing my foot.

Gregory Speicher: It’s hard when the patient is walking out of here with their head down. It’s like, you know, we’re not giving up, so you can’t give up on us.

Nurse Weber: What we realized was, when you look at the anatomy of someone’s feet, you kind of wiggle your toes at nighttime. You’re sit there watching TV, you’re wiggling your toes. So, we figured out we would make a sandwich with his toes. We put material on the top and the bottom of his feet, so that his toes could not move at all.

Jimmy Hammonds: With the way that they were packaging my foot, it was showing some scaling over. A scab is a wonderful thing. A lot of people don’t think that, but it’s showing something that is healing up.

Gregory Speicher: As the transformation of the healing gets better, you just see the wound bed getting smaller, and slowly the bone kind of disappears back under the skin like its supposed to. And it’s like, we made it, we got to the finish line.

Nurse Weber: Dr. Agrawal and I high five every single Monday because we would look at his toes like, you can’t see the bone anymore, let’s keep going with the same thing. So, without hyperbarics, good blood flow, good nutrition, you know proper wound care, his toes wouldn’t have healed.

Gregory Speicher: We persevered, and he was a very dedicated patient, which is something that is absolutely necessary.

Nurse Weber: When you see everything that we went through with him, and you see his feet finally heal, it’s like “wow”, it’s such a good feeling to know that what we do actually works, it matters. We don’t just put bandages on people, we figure out why they’re not healing, and do our best to try to figure out what’s going to work, so, it’s really cool.

Jimmy Hammonds: Every day is a bonus, because I don’t have to worry about getting out of bed knowing, you know, that I can’t walk right. I wouldn’t be able to drive my Corvette because it is hard to get in. There’s a lot that I wouldn’t be able to do if I had lost my leg. I believe in miracles, and a miracle is what happened to me. That’s what I think of every day, how wonderful of an experience I’ve had with Healogics.

Jimmy Hammonds was at risk of losing his leg. His wound care team used hyperbaric oxygen therapy to heal his diabetic foot ulcer and get him back to the life he loved.