Retired nurse MaryAnn Pozarski, (left), spent 40 years of her career caring for patients. Last year, the tables were turned when Pozarski, now a patient of Mayo Clinic Health System, sought treatment for a chronic leg wound that would not heal. Thanks to Pozarski’s dedication and the efforts of the Wound Care Clinic team in Eau Claire, including nurse practitioner Raeann Nargiz (right), Pozarski’s wound has completely healed.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — MaryAnn Pozarski, Eau Claire, was a nurse for 40 years treating patients at Mayo Clinic Health System. She has seen many patients and changes over those years, but the most impactful change came when she needed care for a wound of her own.
During summer 2013, Pozarski developed a wound on her leg that would not heal. It continued to increase in size, and in February 2014, she had surgery on the wound to clean it out. As a nurse, she knew the wound presented a serious problem and was faced with the option of undergoing a surgical split-thickness skin graft. However, Pozarski was hesitant, as her body was prone to infections, and she wanted to avoid another surgery, if possible. Instead of opting for the graft, she began wound care treatments in Rochester, Minnesota, making the drive every six weeks with her husband, Bill, by her side.
In November 2015, she made a follow-up appointment with a past co-worker and friend, cardiac surgeon Robert Wiechmann, M.D., to consider next steps. With encouragement from Dr. Wiechmann, Pozarski made the decision to transition her care to the Wound Care Clinic at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.
Pozarski’s main wound care provider, nurse practitioner Raeann Nargiz, who works in the Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Department, began treating the wound with weekly compression wraps and saw steady progress. About a month into treatment, Nargiz recommended the use of a bio-engineered skin graft application. The skin graft used, known as Apligraf, is a medical device for the treatment of venous leg ulcers, which stimulated the wound to heal. Venous leg ulcers are a type of chronic wound that affects an estimated 600,000 to 1 million people in the United States. Nargiz assured Pozarski that the nonsurgical treatment was a natural, healthy option for helping heal her wound.
Nargiz recalls, “MaryAnn was very dedicated. Now that she was close to home, she was able to come to the wound clinic two times a week for wound treatments. It was a real commitment on her part, but she came diligently.”
Six weeks after the graft was placed, the wound was completely healed. Pozarski says, “I was impressed with the care from Raeann and her ability to reassure me and answer my concerns about using a nonsurgical graft to heal my wound.”
Mayo Clinic Health System wound care professionals are trained in the specialized, detailed care of problem wounds and use the most up-to-date treatment therapies. These treatments are designed to alleviate pain and discomfort while promoting healing.
There are many types of chronic wounds (wounds that don’t heal through normal treatment methods). The most common types of problem wounds include:
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Arterial ulcers
- Pressure ulcers
- Vasculitic ulcers (leg)
- Nonhealing surgical wounds
- Chronic wounds
- Venous stasis ulcers (ulcers and skin damage due to malfunctioning veins)
- Traumatic wounds
Everyone at the Wound Care Clinic enjoyed getting to know Pozarski during her appointments, and it was a bittersweet ending. “We were pleased to see her healed, but knew it was the end of our frequent visits,” says Nargiz.
To learn more about wound care options, call 715-464-3866, or go to mayoclinichealthsystem.org.
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Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.