He completed 20 touchdowns and threw for 3,200 yards in his NFL debut season. The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, also known as RG3, reinvigorated the Washington Redskins and helped them post a 10-6 season record.
He’s board certified in emergency and undersea and hyperbaric medicine, and passed rigorous evaluations to be named a fellow in three American boards of medical specialties. The Wound Center’s medical director, Thomas Gilbert III, D.O., FACEP, FAPWCA, FACHM, also known as TG3, built Meritus Medical Center’s Wound Center and redefined wound care in the tri-state area.
Anne Gill (AG): How have you created a buzz in wound care?
Dr. Gilbert (TG3): It’s really about our strong patient outcomes and word of mouth. We have a wound care team that’s dedicated to exceptional patient care. Many of our patients come to us with multiple chronic wounds or wounds that won’t heal. We look at these situations as challenges.
AG: What types of wounds do you treat?
TG3: Post-surgical wounds, pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, wounds associated with bone infections, wounds as a result of soft tissue radiation injury from radiation therapy and any chronic wound which won’t heal.
AG: Tell me about your defensive game. How do you tackle chronic wounds?
TG3: First, we look at the patient’s vascular supply and its ability to heal a wound. We assess whether there’s bacteria in the wound, or if the wound is not improving after two to three weeks, we then re-evaluate as a team and look for other treatment options. One option is the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for certain wound types such as diabetic foot ulcers, bone infections, graft failures or radiation injury. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy places the patient in a 100% oxygen enriched environment under pressure. This environment enriches the tissues with oxygen and promotes the development of new blood vessels near the wound. It also enhances the effectiveness of certain antibiotics. Another treatment option is the use of bio-engineered skin substitutes to support wound closure. These skin substitutes contain fibroblasts, keratinocytes and growth factors stimulating new tissue growth.
AG: Talk about the Center’s journey into the big league. How did it all begin?
TG3: When we first started, we’d see only six patients on some days. We reached out to people in Washington County, Chambersburg and Martinsburg. Soon our results spoke for themselves. Today, patients come from as far as Winchester and Reston, Virginia, and Cumberland, Maryland. As our volume grows, we continue to add dynamic staff to our team.
AG: It sounds like you have a good record. Let’s talk stats.
TG3: We are tied into a wound expert program that compares our patient volumes, types of patients seen and best practices with 350 other wound care centers. The national average for limb amputation is 3%; we’re at less than 1%. Most chronic wounds heal in 16 weeks; we have it down to 12 weeks.
AG: In healthcare, stats talk volumes, but so does patient satisfaction. You appear to have some raving fans.
TG3: First, we do our best to bring new patients in within 24 hours—no waiting. And, we look at the patient holistically. How can we help the patient? We look at his/her nutritional status; how well-controlled is diabetes and blood pressure? We manage the IV antibiotics and the patient’s blood glucose and check renal function, particularly if we place him/her on antibiotics that may interfere with kidney function. Our nurses make sure patients have the answers to their questions before they leave. If a patient needs to be admitted to Meritus Medical Center, we fast track them in.
AG: Any thoughts on the competition?
TG3: Our patient outcomes speak volumes, but so do our team members. Our physicians are board certified in hyperbaric, emergency and internal medicine, so there’s not much that gets by us. Our Wound Center team includes hyperbaric certified nurses and respiratory therapists.
AG: What’s your Heisman Trophy?
TG3: We received accreditation as a clinical hyperbaric facility by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) last fall. The accreditation involves a thorough review of the Wound Center’s staffing, training, equipment and patient processes. UHMS patient care standards are closely aligned with nationally established Joint Commission standards so patients can come to us knowing they’re receiving expert care.