When Todd Kauffman stubs his toe, he usually finds himself rushing to Mercy Hospital Berryville soon after.
“I’ve walked into so many things and lodged items into my feet – like watch batteries, toothpicks and most recently a nail,” the 42-year-old said. “I was building a chicken pen and it took me a while to realize I’d stepped into trouble.”
That’s because Kauffman suffers from neuropathy, also known as severe nerve damage. It can cause numbness and weakness in the hands and feet, and is caused by a variety of diseases. In Kauffman’s case, it’s type 1 diabetes.
“Apparently I’ve been diabetic all my life, but I didn’t realize it until about seven years ago,” he said. “Even something as simple as a slice of bread was making me sick. It turns out, it was sending my sugar levels through the roof and it was hurting my heart, too.”
During the last decade, Kauffman suffered two small heart attacks, endured two heart surgeries and received six stents in his heart. On top of that, he’s had half of a foot amputated, as well as a big toe.
“Todd would have lost his whole foot or had more surgeries by now if he wasn’t synced up with us at Mercy,” said Vickie Allen, manager of Outpatient Services at Mercy Hospital Berryville. Last fall, Allen and her wound care team were certified by the Wound Care Education Institute.
“Before this certification, we relied more heavily on doctors who write the orders to treat a patient,” Allen said. “Now, we can go in with a lot more knowledge, adjust treatment plans and get them healed quicker.”
This allows for more accurate assessments, documentation, identification and comprehensive patient treatment plans and interventions for wound management. “We’re able to treat patients faster for things like foot ulcers and burns, as well as post-operation wounds or infections from surgeries,” Allen said. Other patients, like Kauffman, suffer from chronic wounds that have trouble healing over time.
“Over the last four years, I’ve been to Mercy constantly, and each time they’ve always done a great job cleaning up my latest wounds and infections,” Kauffman said. “They’re so friendly and they don’t treat you like a patient; they treat you like a family member. I’m just so grateful for what they do.”
“The bottom line is that we’re bringing better care to a small community that, in the past, would’ve had to travel several miles to get the proper treatment,” Allen said. “It’s an honor to be able to provide this.”
Wound care requires a doctor’s referral. To learn more about what Allen and her team provide at Mercy Hospital Berryville, call 870-423-5219.