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MEDICAL : St. Joseph Hospital to Open Center for Treatment of Hard-to-Heal Wounds

Compiled by Leslie Berkman, Times staff writer

St. Joseph Hospital later this month will open near its Orange headquarters the first center licensed in Southern California to offer a new treatment developed to heal the wounds of diabetics, the elderly and other patients with circulatory problems.

Sally Sims, executive director of clinical services for St. Joseph Hospital, said the hospital has been licensed by Caratech Inc. to use the firm’s patented process to produce a substance for treating hard-to-heal wounds.

Sims said the substance, called Procuren, is derived from a patient’s own blood. By using the patented laboratory process, she said, certain cells that promote wound-healing tissue growth are taken from the blood and used to produce a clear liquid that is applied to the patient’s wound.

Diabetes creates circulatory problems that can cause chronic open wounds on the lower limbs, particularly the feet. The condition can lead to gangrene and amputation.

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Sims said Medicare as well as major private insurance companies will reimburse the cost of the Procuren treatment. She said that St. Joseph Hospital will charge $50 to $60 a day for the treatment and that most wounds will require daily treatment for at least eight to 10 weeks.

Sims said the St. Joseph Wound Care Center, scheduled to open July 18, will be housed at 845 W. La Veta Ave. in Orange, across the street from the hospital. She said it will have a staff of seven nurses and technicians. In addition, she said, a group of medical specialists will see patients there. She said the center will accept referrals from family physicians countywide.

To date, Sims said, only nine wound-care centers in the country are licensed to provide treatment with Procuren. The only other California facility, she said, is Seton Hospital in San Francisco.


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