Wounds, in particular chronic wounds, present a challenge to patients and healthcare providers worldwide. In the United States alone, chronic wounds affect more than 6 million patients annually, costing the health care system an estimated $20–25 billion. Patient care is often envisioned to be driven by discoveries in basic, translational, and clinical research, and in fact, wound healing research has been quite productive despite significant underfunding from federal sources in the United States. However, patient care is more often driven by professional education. 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.
Wound healing has a long history, extending some thousands of years, in both oral and written traditions. Few editors are better suited to prepare clinicians for the complex wound problems they are likely to encounter than Rose Hamm. With an all-star cast of chapter authors, Rose set out to create a textbook for all medical professionals entering wound care to help them acquire the needed knowledge about wound healing and chronic wound pathophysiology, and to also help them appreciate the cadre and the varied backgrounds of clinicians needed to help care for patients with wounds. Rose succeeded by transcending professional differences and focusing on the common goal of healing for patients.
The reader of this book will find an enormous range of facts and concepts, some of which developed during the last two or three decades. Significantly, these topics have been recognized as worthy of workshops, seminars, international congresses, and in some cases, inclusion in the curricula of the schools of medicine and allied health professionals. This attention reflects a better understanding of the basic research underpinning of care as well as applied research into dressings and medical devices.
Many will encounter this book as “beginners,” and it is possible the reader may find the range of topics covered somewhat overwhelming. Unfortunately many never receive any wound care education prior to entering into practice. For example, in US Medical Schools little didactic or clinical time is devoted to wound care education in most academic medical centers. As a result, no single discipline is expected to absorb all of the information contained herein. Indeed, while any one individual may not apply all of the information contained within to their daily practice, the information presented will and should be used at all levels of health care, and at each level, some of the information contained will be selected and some may be shelved. However, despite the volume and complexity of the information, one element that transforms the Text and Atlas of Wound Diagnosis and Treatment is Rose’s passion for patient care and for teaching the science and art of wound care to students and residents in the university hospital setting. Her choice of an atlas rather than a traditional textbook allows the material to be much more approachable than often a traditional textbook will allow.
As the reader gains a greater appreciation about wound pathophysiology, patient evaluation, the variety of wound types, and the host of management approaches, each chapter builds on the next, all aimed at helping the reader to become more facile with caring for patients with wounds. Therein lies the magic of Text and Atlas of Wound Diagnosis and Treatment, taking new and complex information and making it real for the reader by relating it to patients the reader will or might encounter. As a result, practice gaps are narrowed, an opportunity for improved care for individual patients can be achieved, and improved public health of our nation remains an achievable promise.
Robert S. Kirsner, MD, PhD
Professor, Vice Chairman & Stiefel Laboratories Chair
Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery
Chief of Dermatology, University of Miami Hospital
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine