*TL;DR Alert* If you are one of today's society that cannot read, much less type an entire paragraph, hit your back button now.
My wife developed Cancer 2008. In November of 2008, I noticed a quarter sized bruise on her leg. By the time they removed the Sarcoma in February 2009, it had developed into an 8 pound tumor the size of a breadbox. 5 weeks after removal, they radiated the area. The space did not fill in, instead filling up with fluid and became painful, making it hard for her to walk.
On March 9th of this year (2012) the doctor went in and drained the large area, then put a wound vac on so that it would heal faster. The dressing and sponges (inside the wound) for a wound vac is required to be changed every 3 days. This should have been a same day surgery. We submitted for a take home pump to our insurance at 9:48am on Friday, by 5pm they still had not approved it, so my wife ended up staying in the hospital 4 extra days. During this time the dressing and sponges were not changed. On Monday, I finally called our insurance, 45 minutes later they "found" the paperwork, it took 18 minutes to get it approved after that. We went home Monday night. The nurse came to the house Tuesday and finally changed the dressing and sponges. When the nurse arrived, she pulled gloves out of her pocket, and did nothing to create a clean or sterile environment. Over the course of 7 visits, we had 5 different nurses, none of which even asked where the sink was to wash their hands. By the time I was finally home to see the vac changed, 2 weeks later, her wound had become infected. The skin on the incision edges was black, necrotic, dead. There interior of the would was covered in a slimy grey goo, and the smell...it lingered in the entire house. I asked the nurse if she thought that was alright, she actually said "It can be, due to the pump", I chased her out of our house.
My wife was admitted (each time is a 2 and a half hour drive for us) and they debrided the wound, re-installed the vac. We hired a new nursing company to come to the home. My wife cam home 4 days later, the nurse was waiting for us. She changed the vac and it seemed alright. 3 days later, the nurse came again, we opened the wound, the smell was there and the color had changed slightly. The nurse immediately called the doctor, and poof, we went back to Pittsburgh for a 3rd debridement. They decided to not continue the wound vac at that time. By this time my wife is rarely awake, runnign 103 constant fever, pulse of 113-130 at all times. When she is awake, she is screaming in pain. My wife has birthed 3 children, bitten through her tongue, had her collarbone broken, and been wrapped around a tree in a car accident. She has never screamed or cried out in pain.
We had her admitted to a skilled nursing facility for antibiotic therapy and wound care. She was there for two months. I have been moist-to-dry packing the wound that long. She gradually improved with round the clock care, and was finally able to come home at the end of May 29. I packed the wound here at the house, twice a day, until July 18th at which point she went in for a skin graft.
The doctor had initially told us he would "roll" a piece of muscle into the open wound, the graft over it. On the day of the surgery he announced that instead, he was going to take two prime rib sized chunks of muscle out of my wife's back, place them in the wound, then graft over those. He did so, leaving a 26cm (10 inch) incision down her back from shoulder to waist.
The graft failed after 96 hours. The flesh in the wound turned black and died. We think it was due to the fact that the doctor ordered the catheter removed to early, and since my wife was bedridden, the nurses had to roll her and move her a lot so she could use the restroom. Re-attaching veins is delicate work, and they failed.
The graft was removed, we were sent home, back to step 1 with the addition of a 10 inch wound on her back and two donor site wounds on her leg. The liquid stitches failed on her back wound, it opened and became infected. Back to the hospital again. This time they power washed the wound with antibiotic solution, then used stress sutures to close it. It has once again become infected, and yesterday I took her back up to the skilled nursing facility.
The point of the story is this: While she was in the hospital, the doctor mentioned Acell, a pig bladder based powder/sheet that allegedly regrows fingertips, here is another example of a regrown fingertip, a Marine's thigh, and so much more.
This powder was going to cost us $240(US) every other day. I cannot afford that, period. So I called the company, and told them that they could use us as a case study, in return for treatment. They have not used this powder post sarcoma or post radiation (that I could find). They agreed. The rep emailed my doctor while he was repairing my wife's back, the doctor told me about it when he came from surgery, and I told him that I had contacted them. He said "That must be why they emailed me!".
Wish us luck, let's hope it is the miracle they say it is.
PLEASE read the links included, it is like science fiction. My wife says "Doctor gave me a pill and I grew a new kidney!". (Someone has to get that reference)