A cure for the non-healing injury

While using a ladder, Charles Bartlett lost his footing and fell to the ground of his garage. The fall fractured his pelvis in four spots around his left hip socket. Due to the location of the fracture, he was told that hip replacement surgery was not an option, but instead he would just need to give the bone time to heal on its own. Bartlett spent three days in the hospital and two weeks in rehab getting stronger before returning home.

After being wheelchair bound for five months, he visited another hospital for a second opinion. Unfortunately he was given the same recommendation – wait for the injury to heal.

Taking matters into his own hands

Bartlett and his physicians speculated that the wound was not healing since he had previously undergone radiation to his hip for prostate cancer and had also received treatment for throat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells, but it can also kill healthy tissue and the arteries that bring blood to repair bone tissue. 

But it was Bartlett’s experience with throat cancer that triggered an idea. He facilitates a head and neck cancer support group and had heard from some participants that they had experienced success with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to speed up healing of the bones in the jaw. He thought, if the therapy works for jaw bones, why wouldn’t it have the same effect on his pelvis? His care team was skeptical that the therapy would work, but agreed to give it a try.

Turning the corner in recovery

After making an appointment at Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s Wound Clinic, Bartlett met with the HBOT team to discuss his treatment. Then he laid in the clear chamber for the 60-minute therapy, which delivered 100 percent oxygen to the wound at increased pressure to intensify the amount of oxygen being carried by the blood. After thirty sessions he revisited his doctor who was pleasantly surprised to find that the wound was starting to heal. Bartlett underwent thirty more HBOT sessions before his hip was fully healed.

Today, Bartlett has his mobility back. He walks a little slower than he did before, but at age 82 he considers that to be just fine. He continues to facilitate his cancer support group and is a big advocate for HBOT. He has seen first-hand how the therapy can make a difference in recovery of non-healing wounds. He says that if he had not thought to give this unique therapy a try, he doesn’t know where he would be. He is appreciative of the care he received while undergoing HBOT and says, “everybody that I encountered was helpful, considerate and friendly. The doctors and technicians were outstanding and the whole team came together to help me with a great recovery.”

charles bartlett
Charles Bartlett