Aletha Tippett

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Pressure Ulcer Prevention

by Aletha Tippett MD

How do you prevent pressure ulcers? This is an interesting question and one that eludes many. Currently, I am involved in reviewing research proposals to prevent pressure ulcers (injuries). The funny thing is that there is nothing new. Everyone is using the same known techniques, just trying different forms. However, there is a proven way to prevent pressure ulcers and it was done years ago in a Cincinnati nursing home I was working in without any fanfare. The results from this nursing home wound care program were even published.1

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Tetanus Immunization

by Aletha Tippett MD

Tetanus is a multisystem disease that occurs worldwide and is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. This bacterium is present in feces and soil. Tetanus has been mostly eradicated in the United States because of childhood immunization; however, there have been reported cases among immigrants, as well as young adults who partake in higher-risk behaviors such as body piercing and tattooing and those who fail to maintain adult booster immunization. Other risk factors include diabetes or chronic wounds. It is fatal in approximately 10% to 30% of cases. Tetanus can be localized (with muscle contractions in the part of the body where the infection began) or generalized (affecting the entire body). Most reported tetanus cases are generalized.

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wound care and legal issues

by Aletha Tippett MD

Medical providers, and especially wound care providers, seem to always be under the looming shadow of lawsuits and legal issues. I have written about this before, but it continues to be an issue as I receive requests for legal reviews repeatedly. I have read many charts for legal reviews, and it actually is very straightforward to avoid or mitigate any legal problems.

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Lidocaine Chemical Makeup

by Aletha Tippett MD

Well known for its pain-relieving properties, lidocaine can help us with wound care in many other ways. It has been my go-to product for wound care for over 20 years. I always use viscous lidocaine squirted on any dressing. The viscous lidocaine is what is prescribed for people to gargle for sore throats, so I always knew it was safe to put on a wound. It is wonderful for pain relief. A patient might need systemic pain relief also, but the application of topical lidocaine is very effective to help alleviate local pain of wounds.

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doctor giving patient hope

by Aletha Tippett MD

I have written about so many things over the past years… Maybe now is a good time to announce that I am writing a book called Hear Our Cry, an autobiographical story about 20 years of wound care and limb salvage. The process has had quite an impact on me, reviewing all the pictures and notes from my wound patients from the past two decades.

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Zinc in wound healing

by Aletha Tippett MD

Well, what a surprise to find that what you have been doing all along is really the right thing to do even though you didn’t know the reason. Always, over the years doing wound care, I applied a thick layer of zinc oxide ointment around the patient’s wound, then put my dressing on the wound and covered it with a topping, usually plastic wrap pressed into the zinc oxide ointment.

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Leech Therapy

by Aletha Tippett MD

People from across the country call or email me asking about using leeches for a loved one. Usually, I tell them to try to find someone close to them to administer therapy. Often, the problem is not something a leech could help. I have written about leech therapy before, but maybe it’s time to review how leeches can be used in wound management.

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technology-in-wound-care

by Aletha Tippett MD

In looking at technology that helps in wound care, how many know about—and use—lasers? Cold lasers have been used by physical therapists for years, but cosmetic lasers can also be used. I have had tremendous success using laser therapy on wounds. Healing is much improved (and faster), with less scarring. I am not a technocrat. I’m much more old-fashioned, but the laser is a wonder.

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arterial and vascular disease

by Aletha Tippett MD

This week I saw a patient with terminal peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Seeing him reminded me of how often the severity of this disease is misunderstood. He had had amputation of the toes on his right foot due to gangrene

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medical leech therapy

by Aletha Tippett MD

I was recently reflecting on a past patient that I was treating for toe wounds on his right foot, trying to avoid amputation. His toes kept getting necrotic, to the point he went for a transmetatarsal amputation (TMA) by a fine surgeon.. The surgery was very successful and there was a beautiful flap covering the amputation site of his TMA. Unfortunately, within a day, this flap started turning blue and was showing signs of failure.

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