Gary’s Story: Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine
Wound Healing Team Delivers “First-Class” Care for Former Postman
Neither rain nor sleet or snow could keep Gary Delucca from his postal route in Newark. Instead, his knees forced him into early retirement after 34 years of delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service.
“After all that walking, there was no cartilage left in both of my knees,” said the 55-year-old Irvington resident. “I was getting cortisone shots every 5-6 weeks just to get out of bed and walk.”
At the suggestion of his family physician, Dr. Michael Parziale, Gary had both knees replaced by orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Eric Mirsky. He spent three nights at Overlook and 12 days at a rehabilitation facility before returning home. Meanwhile, one of the scars on his right knee was slow to heal and Gary felt increasingly ill. He went to an Urgent Care Facility, where he was diagnosed with kidney failure due to an adverse reaction to his medication. He was immediately admitted to Overlook for inpatient urological care.
Although Gary’s kidneys quickly returned to normal function, Dr. Mirsky noticed that the wound on Gary’s right knee still wasn’t healing properly. There was a high risk of infection and the possibility of replacing the knee again. Dr. Mirsky called in Dr. Reza Momeni, a plastic surgeon, who referred him to Overlook’s Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Program. There, a team of doctors led by medical director, Dr. David Eisenbud, a practicing vascular surgeon and nationally recognized pioneer in the field, designed a hyperbaric oxygen therapy program that put Gary on the road to recovery.
The noninvasive medical treatment uses pressurized oxygen to enhance the body’s natural healing process to aid in healing wounds. The treatment is administered by placing the patient in a comfortable chamber that circulates pure oxygen at two to three times atmospheric pressure…much like a scuba dive.
“During each treatment, I was required to lie still in the chamber for an hour and 45 minutes,” Gary recalled. “I could listen to music, watch TV, take a nap or talk to the staff during that time. It didn’t hurt a bit, but the treatments were critical to my care. Each week, nurses would photograph and measure the wound to track the healing progress. The wound got smaller and smaller over time.”
After 30 individual treatments in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, Gary’s wound healed properly and he resumed physical therapy. Now, he’s looking forward to trading his mailbag for a bowling bag and playing for a men’s league.
“I can’t say enough about the team at the Wound Healing Center,” said the grateful husband and father of two grown boys. “Everyone – from Dr. Eisenbud to the dermatologist, plastic surgeon, program director, and nurses – played a role in my care. If ever I had a question, they always had an answer.”