|The Regional Medical Center’s Wound Center – Leading SC in Wound Care
ORANGEBURG, SC — It’s a common question with an obvious answer. “If you needed specialized treatment for a medical condition, where would you want to go?” Answer: To the medical professionals who have had the greatest number of successes in treating that condition.
RMC Wound Center Staff
In the case of wound care in South Carolina, that successful team of wound care specialists is at the Regional Medical Center’s Wound Center in Orangeburg headed by infectious disease expert and certified wound specialist Dr. John H. Samies, CWS.
“We treat between 900 and 1000 patient visits per month,” said Dr. Samies. “Our Wound Center treats the largest number of wound patients in the entire state and has the second highest volume of wound patients in the Southeast next to the Augusta Burn Center.”
The Wound Center staff operates an outpatient clinic and provides expertise on wound care for all hospital inpatients needing their services.
Dr. Samies attributes the Wound Center’s success to its team of specially trained nurses and staff, and to “best practice,” nationally benchmarked care using the most advanced wound care techniques and products.
“Our nursing staff is second to none,” said Dr. Samies. “Our wound care nurses are nationally certified, which is a lengthy process of advanced specialized training. They must have a bachelor’s degree and then complete six months to one year of additional training, depending on their program concentration, before they can be certified. They are recertified every five years.”
Marie Gehling, RN, BSN, CWON (certified wound ostomy nurse) was responsible for starting the Wound Center at the Regional Medical Center in 1992. “There was a huge unmet need for wound care in this community. I contacted the physicians, and they began referring their patients to the hospital for advanced wound care,” said Gehling. “Dr. Stuart Funderburk had an understanding of specialized wound care because of his military experience, and he was instrumental in helping other physicians understand what we could do for their patients with difficult wounds.”
Gehling was responsible for recruiting Dr. Samies to the Wound Center in 1998. “After six years as a nurse-run center, we were able to expand our services with the addition of Dr. Samies and other staff,” she said.
Laura Fogle RN, BSN, CWON (certified wound ostomy nurse) joined the Wound Center in 1998 too. “We take a whole-body approach to healing wounds, that includes diet, counseling, therapy services, diabetic education, and teaching the patient and caregiver about wound care,” said Fogle.
Amanda Taylor RN, WCC (wound care certification) and Alexandra Kuck, RN, BSN, CWOCN (certified wound ostomy and continence nurse) are two other staff members who are part of the nursing team.
“We have a great team that works together to find the best healing solutions for each patient. Our entire team is focused on giving the patient exceptional care,” said Taylor
Kuck agrees. “It is very rewarding to see our patients get better and their wounds heal. We make a positive difference in our patients well being and in some cases we’re even saving their lives."
“I like the fact that we stay up-to-date on the latest treatments through our certifications,” said Fogle. “Everything we do is evidence-based, which means that it has been proven through research. We actually have proof of what works best and why,” she said.
“The results speak for themselves – we have exceptional healing rates,” said Dr. Samies.
The Wound Center team includes a board-certified infectious disease specialist and hospital epidemiologist; four certified wound care nurses with more than 30 years of combined experience in wound care; a physical therapist and two physical therapy technicians dedicated to the wound team; a patient counselor, a registered dietician and nutrition specialist available for consultation; a certified diabetic educator as consultant for diabetic education; as well as a medical office assistant and a department secretary.
The Regional Medical Center’s Wound Center specializes in helping patients with wounds that have not healed including: pressure ulcers, diabetic wounds, lower extremity ulcers, non-healing surgical wounds, chronic wounds that do not show improvement in four weeks, wounds related to circulatory problems and minor burns. The Wound Center also provides education to ostomy patients.
Therapy services include removal of contaminated tissue, compression therapy, topical wound and skin care, bi-layered cell therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, pulse lavage, whirlpool therapy, and MIST ultrasound therapy.
The Wound Center staff members have conducted clinical research and have made national and international presentations on their findings, including a presentation on wound infection prevention in Bangalore, India in 2007. Other presentations have been made to staffs of major universities such as Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, University of Pittsburgh and the Medical University of South Carolina.
The staff conducts a statewide symposium on wound care with national speakers each year. Throughout the year the Wound Center hosts students in wound care from MUSC and Emory University, and nursing students from Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, South Carolina State University and University of South Carolina.
“We train visiting physicians and medical specialists from other southeast institutions who want to learn how we do things here,” said Samies.
“By conducting research and providing training to other medical professionals, we can affect more lives than we would be able to touch personally,” said Gehling. “We are all very passionate about what we do.” Samies agrees. “We are so fortunate to have this highly qualified, dedicated team. They are truly impacting lives.”