Senior woman standing on a dock smiling.

Decreasing the risk of broken bones

In fall 2012, Anacortes resident Suzanne Martin-Gowen was facing oral surgery, but her surgeon said she needed hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) before he could perform the operation. She thought she was going to be traveling out of town to access this service, but was delighted to learn that HBOT was available at Island Health.

“I had radiation therapy for cancer in my jaw in the 90s and the oral surgeon told me that there was a very high risk of my bone breaking in surgery if I didn’t strengthen them with hyperbaric treatments,” said Martin-Gowen. “The surgeon told me that if I got the hyperbaric treatments he could do what he needed to do without any risk of breaking bone.”

The articulate Martin-Gowen heard about Island Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine at Island Health and met with Dr. Enrico Versace. “I had four weeks of treatment before, and for two weeks following the oral surgery. The surgery and recovery process went very well.”

Martin-Gowen lives on Lake Erie and enjoys the outdoor activities of the area, including gardening, going to the beach, hiking and “just being outside.”

She wasn’t at all concerned about being in a pressurized chamber since “you can’t see it and don’t feel like you’re ‘in’ anything. Plus, I got to watch movies (during treatment) and the clinic staff made sure I was relaxed and comfortable as possible — and they checked in on me often.”

Martin-Gowen is very impressed with the clinic staff, who she said is “just outstanding,” compassionate and informative.

Due to residual pain in her jaw from the past radiation treatments, she came back to Island Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine in 2013. “I came in for another three weeks last year,” Martin-Gowen said. “These did so much for me, I felt renewed.” Even other physical concerns were alleviated, she added.

She now can enjoy her favorite activities without pain: “socializing and going to events like festivals and fairs.” As long as it’s outdoors.

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