Adam Vandemark, 22, of Sugar Land was on a midday motorcycle ride back in April 2013 when he was hit broadside by a car. The force of the impact broke Vandemark’s leg in multiple places. Emergency medical crews took him to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, where Carl Hicks, M.D., performed immediate surgery to stabilize the leg.
Patients who experience high-impact trauma or crushing of the extremities often face an additional complication called acute compartment syndrome, where swelling in the injured area cuts off blood supply to nearby muscles and nerves, eventually resulting in loss of the limb. To save Vandemark’s leg, Dr. Hicks performed a surgery called a fasciotomy – a procedure that created a large opening down the length of Vandemark’s right calf, exposing bones and muscles and relieving pressure.
Following his release from the hospital, Vandemark’s care continued at the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Advanced Wound Care Clinic, where he underwent a series of advanced tissue and skin grafts designed to rebuild his damaged muscles and close up the fasciotomy opening.
“Adam has had quite a journey,” says Azul Jaffer, M.D., inpatient medical director of the Advanced Wound Care Clinic. “We were upfront with him from the beginning about the extensive damage his leg suffered, and the possibility that he could lose his leg. His treatment was extremely complex and required multiple modalities that in the past would have required his transfer to the Texas Medical Center. Today, we can successfully treat these complicated cases right here in Sugar Land.”
Vandemark was a patient at the Advanced Wound Care Clinic for three-plus months, as Dr. Jaffer and the team at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital worked to repair his tissue and heal his fasciotomy opening in preparation for additional surgery to stabilize his leg and ankle bones, which took place in November.
Some of the grafts used on Vandemark included biological agents that stimulate healing and help regenerate tissue and skin. Vandemark also went through five weeks of intensive hyperbaric oxygen treatments, consisting of two-hour sessions five times weekly.
The Advanced Wound Care Clinic’s hyperbaric oxygen chamber reduces swelling and pushes oxygen to injured areas to aid in healing.
“I could tell that every time I finished a treatment my leg looked better,” said Vandemark. “Sometimes it was just a little change, but I knew it was working.” Dr. Jaffer estimates that over the course of Vandemark’s treatment, approximately 20 physicians were involved in hands-on care and consultations about his condition as the team searched for the best approach to saving the leg.
“We have a strong group of physicians here who work together well and recognize that some patients have unique situations that require us all to put our heads together and share ideas and experiences to produce the best outcomes,” he said. “The Advanced Wound Care Clinic opened in June 2012 and has consistently been achieving significant results for patients from across Fort Bend and surrounding counties, like Adam. We can pull together a multi-disciplinary team that includes family medicine, internal medicine, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, vascular surgeons – whatever it takes to ensure that we are providing the best possible care for our patients.”
Vandemark says he is grateful to the physicians, nurses and staff at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital and the Advanced Wound Care Clinic.
“Everyone took really good care of me,” he says. “The day of the accident, when the ambulance crew said they were taking me to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, I didn’t really know anything about it. But I’m glad they did.”
Potential patients do not need a doctor’s referral to come to the Advanced Wound Care Clinic. Indications for wound care include diabetic wounds, pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, arterial ulcers, non-healing surgical wounds, complex soft tissue wounds, traumatic wounds, wounds caused by radiation therapy and infected wounds. Please call 281.275.0770 to schedule an appointment; for more information, visit houstonmethodist.org/sugarland.