Wound Care - Austin's Story

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Does Wonders for Local Teen

Austin Reid

In some ways, Austin Reid is your typical 15-year-old. The Southern Regional High School sophomore is on the cross country and track teams and enjoys watching The Walking Dead. However, there’s one thing that sets her apart from most teens her age.

Austin has undergone several surgeries on her toe area of her left foot due to macrodactyly, a rare condition that can affect the feet and the hands, causing the toes or fingers to be abnormally large due to the overgrowth of the underlying bone and soft tissue.

During her first surgery, performed at another hospital in October 2014, Megan Lubin, DPM with Ocean County Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates P.C. , removed the additional bone length in Austin’s left big toe and inserted “hardware” to allow the bone to heal. Eight months later, she underwent a second surgery to the remove hardware and care for the tissue on her toe.

Following surgery, things took a turn for the worse as Austin experienced excruciating pain and her toe began to turn black. Her family began to be concerned Austin was going to lose her toe. But, when they turned to Dr. Lubin and her colleague Girish Nair, DPM, for guidance, they were quickly connected with Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus’ (MMCSC) Wound Center for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

HBOT is a medical treatment prescribed by a doctor to enhance the body’s natural healing process. Through this treatment, the patient is put in a specially designed chamber filled with oxygen that’s about two and a half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. During HBOT therapy, an individual breathes 100 percent pure oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber. This “hyperbaric” or high pressure dose of oxygen helps the blood carry more oxygen to organs and connective tissues to promote wound healing. HBOT also activates the white blood cells to fight infection.

Amy Hall, Austin’s mother, called the MMCSC Wound Center and was able to get an appointment the next day. “I was grateful that the turnaround time from my initial call to Austin’s appointment was so quick. We were so nervous that the longer we waited, the worse her prognosis would be so that immediate attention to our needs was essential during that time,” says Amy.

From July 8 through October 2, Austin received a total of 60 HBOT treatments - one HBOT treatment per day, five days a week, two hours a day. She also continued seeing Dr. Lubin, sometimes as many as two times a week. Prior to HBOT treatment, a simple car ride would cause too much pain. After Austin’s first HBOT treatment she already felt noticeably better.

Despite treatment requiring so much time, Amy and Vita Hansen , Austin’s grandmother, both felt comfortable leaving Austin at the Wound Center for treatments when they had to go to work or run errands as they knew she was in good hands and would be taken care of appropriately. “We could always count on someone at the Wound Center to help Austin upon arrival and make sure she received the care she needed,” says Amy.

“The Wound Center staff went above and beyond to try and work around on my class schedule,” says Austin. “We weren’t sure whether or not I was going to have to be homeschooled during this time so it was such a relief that I was able to participate in my freshman year.”

In August 2015 Austin had a follow-up surgery at MMCSC to remove more tissue and bone. Fortunately, this time, Austin did not experience any negative side effects and she resumed HBOT treatment.

Amy and Vita, note that coming to the Wound Center was just like being with family. “We knew they really cared about not only Austin and her recovery but that they cared about us as well,” continues Amy. “On Austin’s birthday, they decorated her dressing room with pictures of Walking Dead zombies – such a little, silly thing but it really showed they cared.”

Harry Filinuk, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Technician, and Cheryl Munroe, Program Director of the Wound Care Center, recall Austin as one of their favorite patients even though her sarcastic sense of humor made her a “troublemaker” at times.

“It makes it all worthwhile to help someone like Austin – she was so young and upbeat it was tough to see her in so much pain, but her recovery makes it that much better,” says Harry.

Austin was so impressed with the level of care and customer service she received at MMCSC’s Wound Center that she finds herself comparing every other doctors and dentists office to MMCSC and the personal experience she received here.

“Dr. Lubin and Dr. Nair worked together so well with the team at MMCSC to care for Austin and help her heal. After being at MMCSC and experiencing the services, there is no doubt MMCSC is the best choice for treatment,” says Amy.

For more information or to make an appointment at the MMCSC Wound Care Center, call 732.886.4100.