Daniela Ricci was told she needed amputation after a wound developed so large that it exposed her Achilles Tendon

Daniela Ricci, 32, a Dental Nurse and mother from Victoria, was told she would need amputation after radiation and surgery to remove a tumour from her ankle, created a wound so large it exposed her Achilles tendon.

Ms Ricci had chemotherapy and radiation in July until August 2016, followed by surgery in early October 2016. A few months later the skin started to breakdown, creating a wound so large it exposed her Achilles tendon. When the wound initially appeared it wasn’t known how serious the situation was, until the plastic surgeon reviewed it and told her that she might need amputation.

Ms Ricci decided to take matters into her own hands and started looking into alternative options. She had no idea if she would find a way of treating the wound but eventually found there was hope after chatting to a friend who said she should visit a wound clinic. Ms Ricci then contacted Professor Geoff Sussman, Austin Hospital, who began using a negative pressure dressing to treat her wound. After just 1-2 weeks (there was a big improvement to the wound. There was a variety of different dressings used over the time from January 2017 until October 2017 – and she was delighted to find her wound eventually completely healed over. The negative pressure dressing was used in conjunction with Hyperbaric Medicine at Alfred Health.

The wound had a huge impact on Ms Ricci’s life, it was very painful and became infected which meant she couldn’t walk properly and often needed crutches. She always needed assistance whether that was carry out her daily routine, or to help her look after her toddler. Ms Ricci also had to stop work – this led to financial pressures as she and her partner had to rely on one income, and there were expensive on-going medical costs.

“I wish I knew about Professor Geoff Sussman and hyperbaric medicine earlier, the wound got so large. If it was treated properly before the Achilles tendon was exposed then the treatment time would have been a lot shorter” warns Ms Ricci.

She advises others “People trust in doctors but they need to keep their options open and look for them – never give up as there may be an alternative solution out there.”

If you have a wound that won’t heal, don’t delay – seek specialist treatment.