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OMC Wound Care Provides Hope in Service

WEST PLAINS, Mo— Charles Whanger, a retired man from VanZant, lives the same small town life many do in southern Missouri driving around his manual, stick-shift pickup truck. “I’m from north of Dora, south of Mountain Grove,” says Mr. Whanger. “VanZant address, but more like the middle of nowhere.”

Whanger had a history of ankle problems due to complications with diabetes and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (M.R.S.A.). He is the type of person that cannot be cooped up for too long, always wanting to get up and go. He believed that as long as he kept going through the pain, it would eventually heal itself. This time, that was not the case.

Whanger learned of an orthopedic surgeon in another city that had great reviews, so he paid him a visit. The physician’s initial thoughts were to put him in an air boot for a month then reconvene as the best option. Unfortunately, his ankle had other plans.

Not even a week later, he returned to the doctor because the boot was rubbing his ankle causing it to bleed. The doctor assessed the condition and believed the only option was to amputate his foot. That was Charles’ last experience there as a patient.

“He said the only surgery he would do was to take the foot off. I was really aggravated so I looked at him and said I would need no more services from you,” Whanger remembers back to his experience with that doctor.

As Whanger explored more options, he learned about OMC Wound Care. There Sonia M. Gerlick, D.O., and staff managed to clean the infection on a couple different occasions, until it became evident that it needed something more.

“That ankle was so bad. It was full of puss running out of it that Dr. Gerlick got tears in her eyes and was afraid I was going to lose it,” Whanger recalled from his Thanksgiving day visit in 2017, “I knew she cared. That means so much when you know somebody actually cares. She is the kind of person that doesn’t do what she does for worldly gain, she does it to care for people. There are a whole lot of people in the world, but few are as nice as Dr. Gerlick is.”

Whanger then thought back to a friend that had to have a foot amputated. The hospital that performed the surgery provided him a prosthetic that would not fit properly resulting in bleeding, which left him healing the wound for a few months before trying another prosthetic. Eventually it got to a point where his friend became depressed.

“He wouldn’t even try to eat. He just laid there until he died. He was so depressed and had no quality of life. I refused to do that. A guy that goes all the time nonstop can’t live like that. If you keep him up like that, he will just sit there and die,” Mr. Whanger thought back to his friend. “There are some people that like to sit around, I’m just lost if I can’t get up and go.”

As a result of his friend’s experience, Whanger refused to have his foot amputated. He wanted additional doctors to look at it until a different solution could be found. He found that doctor to be Magdy Giurgius, M.D. at OMC. Dr. Gerlick had referred Mr. Whanger to Dr. Giurgius, who proved to be understanding of Whanger’s wishes.

“Other surgeons wanted to just take the foot off, but he really stood up for me,” Whanger said of Dr. Giurgius, “What I learned about him is that he works hours on hours on hours.”

Dr. Giurgius managed to clean enough of the infection out where it could start the healing process and was also prescribed antibiotics. Once the infection healed, Whanger was able to have a successful surgery performed that allowed him to keep his foot.

Thanks to his determination, Charles Whanger still has his foot and his livelihood and is able to get up and go wherever he pleases thanks to Dr. Gerlick, Dr. Giurgius and the rest of the OMC Wound Care.

“Dr. Giurgius is a good doctor. He is one of the best. Dr. Gerlick is a really good doctor. All these nurses are good. They always make me feel great,” Charles Whanger remarked about the Wound Care team. “I ain’t been here but a year and half, but I still call once in a while just to say hi.”

OMC Wound Care provides specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds, which are defined as sores or wounds that have not significantly improved from conventional treatments. Wound care services are provided by a panel of physicians and staff that include surgeons specialty trained for treating hard to heal wounds. The current panel includes Dr. Magdy Giurgius, Dr. Rex Goodman, Dr. Antony Joseph, Dr. Alexandre Makarian, Dr. William McGee, Dr. Sonia Gerlick, and Lynsey Sullivan, FNP-C.

OMC Wound care is located at 1665 Gibson Street, West Plains, MO. If your primary care provider thinks you may require wound care services, they may call OMC Wound Care at 417-257-5946. For more information about OMC, visit www.ozarksmedicalcenter.com.

From left to right: Holly Turner, Front Office Coordinator; Dr. Sonia Gerlick; Paydan Clayton, RN Case Manager; OMC Wound Care patient Charlie Whanger; Casey Cates, RN Case Manager; Randi Russell, Program Director; and Beth Weeks, RN Case Manager.

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