At a recent Max Gaspar MD Symposium on limb salvage that focused especially on patients with diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, I was impressed by the panels that consisted of vascular surgeons, podiatrists, a physical therapist, a plastic surgeon, and a researcher—a real multi-disciplinary team all talking about the same patient population and how to preserve an ischemic limb, heal a wound, and restore optimal function and quality of life for the individual. The entire day reinforced what I so passionately wanted to capture in the first edition of Text and Atlas of Wound Diagnosis and Management, and have tried to enhance in this second edition. If we as a medical profession are going to be successful in caring for these patients, every profession has to be involved. And involvement starts with the education of our entry-level students in all of the medical professions, and continues throughout one's career, whether teaching students, colleagues, or patients.
Another pivotal moment for me at the Gaspar Symposium occurred during lunch, talking with two medical students about their impressions of the day thus far, and having them respond, "We don't get any of this in medical school." I encouraged them to ask for it from their professors, because as one supervisor said to me early on in my career, "Whirlpool and betadine don't get it anymore." While we are way past the whirlpool and betadine era of wound care, there are still antiquated ideas, financial constraints, and just plain lack of knowledge that prevent patients with wounds from getting the right diagnosis and appropriate medical care. In the long run, this costs not only the patient in terms of compromised care and all the anxiety and emotions that go along with having a nonhealing wound, but also costs the payers untold more dollars because of the wasted care that is neither evidence-based, appropriate, nor effective. As Dr. Robert Kirsner so eloquently stated in the foreword to the first edition, "While wound care has improved, practice gaps exist and chronic wounds will become a more significant public health concern as the US population ages and the incidence of risk factors for chronic wounds (such as diabetes) continues to rise. To combat the increasing number of patients with wounds and wound-healing problems, more and better-trained clinicians are needed."
The multi-disciplinary team of authors who have contributed to this book are outstanding clinicians and educators in their individual fields. Each of the original authors agreed to review and revise his/her chapter, bringing it up-to-date as reflected in current research and literature. They have willingly given innumerable hours from their busy schedules because they share that same vision—for all the disciplines to bring their unique expertise to patient care, but based on the same evidence-based principles of wound healing. My fervent prayer is that educators in all disciplines of patient care will be inspired to learn, to teach, and to care for patients with nonhealing wounds in such a way that the ripple effect will be far-reaching and non-ending. God bless you as you use the extensive information in this book to care for His people!