Patient of diabetes finds hope in Wound Care | Ascension

Patient of diabetes finds hope in Wound Care


Six months ago, Justin Tierney sought treatment for a chronic foot wound, a common complication among people with uncontrolled diabetes.

Justin, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than 20 years earlier, was referred to the Wound Center at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. With his A1C numbers nearly double what they should be, he was immediately admitted to the hospital.

While in the hospital, general surgeon Eric Delman, DO, surgically debrided his right foot wound and cardiologist Bashar Marji, MD, performed an angioplasty to open up his right anterior tibial artery to restore blood flow to his lower extremity and save his foot.

Before Justin’s discharge, a PICC line was inserted in preparation for the six weeks of antibiotic infusions he was to undergo as an outpatient.

“Surprisingly, the experience was overwhelmingly positive, considering amputation was a possibility if I didn’t seek help and stick to my antibiotic treatment after getting out of the hospital,” says the 41-year-old technical support specialist.

Justin was referred to Rachel Stevens, MD, medical director of the Wound Center, for follow-up treatment. In addition to the antibiotics, she prescribed weekly debridement of his wound to promote healing between October and January.

“Dr. Stevens has been greatly supportive and an advocate for me,” says Justin. “She worked with my general practitioner, helped recommend a referral to a gastroenterologist and orthotist for custom footwear and wrote detailed treatment instructions for me and my other providers.”

With his care team’s encouragement, Justin began to make meaningful lifestyle changes. He improved his diet, quit smoking, focused on staying hydrated and learned more about ways to better manage his disease.

“In October my A1C was 14 and then in January it was down to 9.3,” says Justin “Once I started advocating for myself, it all started falling into place.” Though he has a ways to go to reach his health goals, Justin says he continues to make progress and has a plan and a care team he knows he can rely on to help him.

That’s led him to be more proactive about his health; for example, he recently noticed a new sore forming on his left foot and quickly scheduled an appointment with the Wound Center team.

“I am looking forward to not being sick all the time,” he says. “I’ve always done what I need to survive and I’m not ready to quit anytime soon.”

To learn more about the Wound Center, call 620-235-7522.