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Ask the Experts: Newer frostbite treatment

Updated: Tuesday, February 18 2014, 09:53 AM EST
MONTGOMERY, Ohio (Liz Bonis) -- A man from West Chester is back on the mend today after a newer treatment helped him reduce complications from  frostbite.
 
It was a cold day much like this one and apparently for too many hours Christopher Hatfield was outside in it . "My feet went numb, I didn't feel it happening, you would think that you would feel something like that, happening. I had no idea."
 
He had no idea he would be in terrible pain due to frostbite. "It felt like someone was holding my feet over a fire,  it was more like a burn than it was cold."
 
Luckily however he got in right away, sought the right treatment and was able to get newer type of treatment, not previously always used in frostbite.
 
After about a dozen treatments in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Dr. Haim Cohen, a podiatrist, unwrapped Hatfield's feet. Doctor Cohen says they were damaged because of a lack of blood flow.  "Without blood flow, nothing will heal and the whole premise with frostbite is that we are not getting enough oxygen down to the extremities, and that's primarily the main problem that's causing irreversible changes to our toes to our hands or to our ears, or nose."
 
After just 12 treatments in the chamber, "using 100 compressed oxygen we are saturating the blood vessels in the patient's body, that in the early stages, will recruit dormant blood vessels, and in the long term stimulate angiogensis, which is the formation of new blood vessels."
 
Those new blood vessels have helped heal Hatfield's feet but he remains respectful in a new way he says of how quickly something outside can go wrong. "I thought  I was indestructible when it comes to that kind of stuff, but that's when it can happen."
 
Every step right now is a gentle reminder, we all need a healthy respect for the outdoors. 
Ask the Experts: Newer frostbite treatment


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