As manager of two funeral homes, Thomas Knapp’s days are busy helping people as they cope with the death of a loved one. His career paused last year when his leg became severely infected and he had to be hospitalized. The wound care staff at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy were able to heal his wound, so he could continue his work at the funeral homes.
In March 2019, Thom was taken from his home to Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital by ambulance.
“I have diabetes, and everything was just out of whack,” said Thom. “I don’t remember much, but at a point I was barely conscious. My wife saw I wasn’t well and called for an ambulance which took me to Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.”
Thom was hospitalized for approximately 5 days, where his diabetes was treated and it was determined that he had a severe infection in his leg initially caused by a hammertoe. Once he was stable, Thom was transferred to Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy.
“The staff at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital thought I needed to be at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy to treat the wound on my leg–which was a large, open wound located near my calf,” said Thom.
Wound Care at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy provides a comprehensive approach to treating patients with chronic non-healing wounds. They offer advanced wound care technologies for patients who come to the facility.
While at the hospital, Thom was treated for sepsis, cellulitis and a pressure injury.
“Thom had a scan, Doppler ultrasound, IV antibiotics, topical dressings, and he utilized a specialty mattress and wheelchair cushion during his inpatient stay,” said Kim Dewitt, clinical manager of wound care and hyperbaric medicine at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy. “He and his wife were special people. Mr. Knapp was fun and such a great patient!”
“I also had oxygen therapy,” said Thom. “The wound care team was able to clear up the staph infection–they took excellent care of me. I don’t have any complaints!”
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) promotes healing by increasing the level of oxygen in the tissue and improving the healing efficiency of the white blood cells. Therapy is administered in a hyperbaric chamber that delivers 100 percent oxygen with increased atmospheric pressure, stimulating the entire body’s natural healing responses.
At the same time his wound was being treated, Thom began rehabilitation so that he could begin using his leg again.
In April 2019, Thom was released from inpatient care and continued outpatient wound care and rehabilitation at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy.
“The therapists in rehab helped me regain strength in my leg,” said Thom. “I started out in a wheelchair, then I advanced to using a walker and later just a cane. Within a month after that, I was walking on my own.”
“In outpatient therapy, we worked hard on improving his balance and ability to be able to move heavy loads across the mat so that he could perform his duties at work,” said Arundhati Bijoor, MS, PT. “Some of the machines we used were the recumbent bike, total gym and the treadmill- to improve lower extremity strength and cardiovascular endurance. To improve balance we worked on rocker boards. I also taught him exercises to do at home when he was discharged.”
Thom says that from where his wound started to where it ended is amazing.
“The scar is probably one-fifth the size of the wound,” said Thom. “They did everything right, including showing my wife and I how to care for the wound at home. The healing process was amazing.”
Today, Thom is back at work with the full use of his leg. For his recovery, he credits the wound care staff and the interdisciplinary care he received at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy.
“They took excellent care of me!” he said.
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