Bob Hatch's Story: Well Worth the Miles

During the summer of 2015, Bob Hatch went on several canoe trips that led down a dark, frightening path until the light finally burst through months later, on the opposite end of the state, at South Shore Health’s Wound Care Center.

Bob, who lives in West Stockbridge, in the Berkshires, enjoys canoeing and other outdoor activities with his wife Susanne. After several canoe trips, a simple scratch on Bob’s left knee developed into an infection. Initially, he treated the infection with over-the-counter medication. By the beginning of October, the scratch had become an open wound. When Bob noticed dark red lines across his knee cap, he made an appointment at a local clinic and was treated with an antibiotic. On a subsequent visit, one of the clinic physicians recommended surgery, which would have greatly increased the size of the knee wound.

Suzanne became very concerned about the possibility for surgery. She conferred with one of her medical friends with wound care experience. South Shore Health’s Wound Care Center was highly recommended for its advanced wound care treatments. Even though it is more than a three-hour drive, Bob and Suzanne made their first appointment on Oct. 26, 2015.

Gary Gibbons MD, Medical Director for the Wound Care Center, met Bob, assessed the wound, and ordered complete immobilization of the knee. He also ordered the SNAP™ Therapy System with changes twice weekly. The SNAP is a mechanically-powered, negative pressure wound therapy device which removes wound drainage and stimulates circulation. From October 2015 to February 2016, Bob and Suzanne drove from West Stockbridge to Weymouth and back to have the wound care team change The SNAP. Dr. Gibbons assessed the wound on each visit. “The opening in my knee was getting smaller but the tendon at the base of the wound was still visible and the tunneling had not completely closed,” Bob said.

Dr. Gibbons decided to treat the wound with a product called Grafix®, cryopreserved human placental tissue which contains stem cells. Grafix protects the area from inflammation, scarring, infection and supports new tissue growth. Dr. Gibbons arranged to have six units of Grafix donated as a trial treatment for Bob’s wound. By the fourth treatment the wound was completely healed. Bob was discharged from the Wound Care Center on March 29, 2016.

“Dr. Gibbons has a highly developed team of medical professionals who are certified and experienced in advanced wound management,” Bob said. “Thanks to the team’s dedication and expertise, my knee wound is completely healed – and without surgery.” Bob and Suzanne have chosen to honor their caregivers at the Wound Center by making a gift to the South Shore Health Foundation in their honor. “We highly recommend that anyone with a complicated or non-healing wound contact the Center for Wound Healing,” Suzanne said. “It was well worth all the miles we put on our car to have Dr. Gibbons take care of Bob’s knee wound.”