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A Remarkable Journey of Healing and Gratitude: Kyle Pankey’s Triumph Over Adversity

September 5, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Patient Kyle Pankey and some of the Huntsville Hospital Wound Care Center team

Huntsville Hospital’s Wound Care Center, with its reputation for turning the tide on persistent wounds, can be life-changing for patients seeking a second chance. 

Three years ago, life threw Kyle Pankey an unexpected curveball. A cancer diagnosis cast a shadow of uncertainty over his life. As he embarked on a journey to regain control, he faced a series of surgeries that removed not only the cancer but also parts of his tongue, tonsils, upper palate, and even part of his jaw. The battle was fierce, and even though he emerged from the surgeries, the road ahead was far from smooth.

After a triumphant return home from the surgeries, hope shone bright, only to be dimmed a year later when the cancer returned, spreading to his lungs. His surgeon made the tough call to forego further surgery. The oncologist’s prognosis was bleak – a mere six months to live. The weight of such news would have been unbearable for many, but not for Mr Pankey.

Determined to make the most of the time he had, Mr. Pankey underwent radiation treatment. But as one challenge subsided, another emerged – the pain from the radiation left him unable to eat or drink. That’s when Huntsville Hospital’s Wound Care Center became an unexpected ally in Mr. Pankey’s fight. The mention of hyperbaric oxygen therapy sounded like a beacon of hope as it would treat the wounds from radiation. From the moment he stepped into the center, the staff embraced him as family. 

With every treatment, he felt a shift, and after just 20 sessions, it was as if “a switch had been flipped.” Mr. Pankey found himself regaining independence. Everyday tasks, once taken for granted, were now accomplishments to celebrate. The wounds were healing, and so was his spirit. He was able to return to his work in ambulatory care full-time. 

He was touched by the genuine care he received at the Wound Care Center, a care that extended beyond medical expertise. He said, “I’ve never been to a facility where people are as caring and friendly as they are here. They smile when you arrive and smile when you leave.” But Mr. Pankey’s gratitude couldn’t be contained within a smile. He knew he had to share his story, not just to inspire others facing similar challenges, but to honor the team that had become his lifeline. And so, he decided to do something extraordinary – he presented a plaque of recognition to the Wound Care Center.

In a world where acts of kindness often go unnoticed, Mr. Pankey’s gesture spoke volumes. It was a heartfelt thank you for the profound impact the Wound Care Center had on his life. Through his own journey, Mr. Pankey hoped to shed light on the incredible benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, to show that hope can be rekindled even in the darkest of times.

About hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room. It is used to treat serious infections, bubbles of air in the blood vessels, and wounds that will not heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is covered by insurance. We follow all guidelines set forth by insurance carriers and treat only those indications set by the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society.

Enrollment at our clinic is by physician referral only. Talk to your doctor today about treatment options for stubborn wounds. Click here to learn more about Huntsville Hospital’s Wound Care Center.