By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — On Nov. 8 Marshfield Clinic Health System broke ground on its latest advancement, beginning work on the Marshfield Clinic Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Tissue Repair.
Construction will start on a new 10-unit hyperbaric chamber facility located on the north side of the clinic’s East Wing and will operate under the direction of Dr. Michael Caldwell, a general surgeon with a specialty in wound healing.
“It’s about the best in health care,” said Caldwell. “It’s about the needs of patients who are afflicted with painful, disfiguring, frustratingly chronic wounds and patients whose other chronic and sometimes life-threatening conditions require the use of a fascinating therapy: the use of oxygen as a medicine.”
Caldwell stated that the facility will be the first integrated center of its kind, housing wound care, wound surgery, and hyperbaric medicine in one facility.
“Hyperbaric medicine really uses oxygen as medicine,” explained Caldwell. “We normally breathe oxygen at about 21 percent. With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients breathe 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressures.”
The high levels of oxygen access wounds through the bloodstream, promoting healing and reducing the chance of infection.
“Five years ago a hyperbaric medicine service was developed in Marshfield to powerfully augment the medical and surgical aspects of wound care and provide for patients. … It has now evolved into the only facility between Milwaukee and the Twin Cities capable of caring for critically ill patients in need of hyperbaric medicine,” added Caldwell. “Our facility capacity will be up to 36 patients a day, rather than the 10 patients a day we currently serve.”
The facility is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017 and open in early July.