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Doc Talk | Hyperbaric chambers being used for healing

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It’s a device that can not only save a patient trips to the ER and up to $7,000 for treatment, but it can also save a limb.

Hyperbaric chambers can seem a little intimidating, but doctors say they are great tools for healing everything from bone infections to diabetic ulcers.

“You can see here this opens up. The whole thing slides off onto that cart,” says Dr. Allan Grossman, Medical Director at Geisinger Holy Spirit

This is where many of Dr. Allan Grossman’s patients spend much of their time, in the clinic lying inside one of two hyperbaric chambers.

With just that extra oxygen, Dr. Grossman says the chambers offer much of the healing his podiatry patients need.

“So by doing this, it increases the blood flow, oxygenation, everything you need for the body to heal itself,” he says.

Patients typically spend an hour and a half a day five days a week inside the chamber.

“You can watch TV, you can listen to radio, you can communicate. There’s a telephone with a technician that’s always here,” he says.

It’s most popular for people dealing with diabetic ulcers.

Arlene Hoffman knows all about that, she came to Dr. Grossman after gangrene set in in her toes.

“My father years ago lost his toe first. Then it was the leg. And i was so afraid that was going to happen to me too,” says Hoffman.

Like her father, Arlene is diabetic.

The gangrene was a result of diabetic ulcers.

Several months of treatment here have saved her feet.

“The sooner we get the wounds, the better we implement the care, the better their outcomes,” says Dr. Grossman.

Usually those who qualify for hyperbaric chambers start with 30 treatments -- which take about a month total to complete.

Dr. Grossman says there is very little risk and if anything -- he says the only people just worry they’ll feel claustrophobic inside the chamber.

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