After experiencing severe injuries to her face and forearm from a dog bite, Alameda Health System (AHS) patient Betsy Reeves came to Creedon Advanced Wound Care (CAWC) where she not only received state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), a treatment used to speed up the healing of wounds that won’t heal, she found a champion for her healing journey in HBOT technician Michael Morrisroe.

Betsy Creedon Advanced Wound Care patient

“Michael encouraged me to keep going every step of the way,” said Reeves. “He patiently answered all of my questions and explained the HBOT process which can be very scary, especially for someone like me who suffers from pretty bad claustrophobia.”

HBOT therapy takes place within a glass body chamber where patients breath 100% oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure to promote the body’s natural healing process and prevent tissue death.

Over a six-week period, Reeves underwent a total of 40 treatments each lasting just under two hours. “When I first began HBOT I had to take anti-anxiety medication but I eventually began to relax, lean into it and with Michael’s support, at about four weeks in, I found I didn’t need the medication anymore,” she said.

While in the pressurized chamber, Morrisroe made sure Reeves had the best patient experience possible under the unique circumstances. “The chambers can look very daunting and my goal was to address Betsy’s anxiety and claustrophobia at her first appointment to get the best outcomes,” he said. “From the start, I was impressed with her positive attitude and total commitment to healing.”

Reeves’ shared that being able to see Morrisroe through the glass and speak with him at any time via the intercom provided great comfort. “I knew at any time if I started to panic, he was there to help.”

She also points to being able to watch movies inside the chamber to take her mind off of the confined space. She joked that she and Morrisroe have drastically different tastes. “Michael likes gory action and sci-fi and I like the musicals, tear-jerkers and romantic comedies,” she laughed. When she completed her series of treatments, Reeves generously donated her own DVD collection for other patients to enjoy.

CAWC provides comprehensive patient-centered wound care for patients like Reeves and others with chronic non-healing wounds. In 2023, the staff collectively delivered advanced wound care to over 7,100 patients and 824 HBOT treatments resulting in a comprehensive healing rate of 77.46% and a patient satisfaction rate of 95.35%.

“The amazing team at Creedon Advanced Wound Care work together tirelessly to provide specialized care to each and every patient,” said Sue Fairbanks, program director. “Frequently our healed patients, while excited to be healed, are disappointed that they will not be returning to see their ‘wound care family.’”

Today, Reeves, who is a retired arborist for the City of Berkeley continues to improve. She’s back to swimming three days a week at the YMCA and enjoys the outdoors and working in her garden.

“It’s been slow but I’m progressing in the right direction and that’s due in a large part to the excellent care I received at Creedon,” shared Reeves. “My friend Michael helped see me through it and because of his support and that of the entire Creedon staff, I was able to successfully complete my treatment and continue healing.”

Visit Creedon Advanced Wound Care for more information about the many services available to treat chronic or slow to heal wounds.