Limb removal surgery all too common since the disaster hit
Bethesda, MD (Vocus) January 28, 2010 -- When a devastating earthquake rocked a vulnerable Haiti on January 12, lives of numerous American podiatrists with ties to the country and its people were rocked too. For years, American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) doctors have travelled to the diabetes plagued nation on a mission to save lower-limbs from amputation as a result of the disease. In fact, nearly seven percent of the estimated nine million Haitians have diabetes, and far too many don’t even know they have it. Ironically, APMA doctors, such as Patrick DeHeer, DPM, of Carmel, IN, who set up a diabetes wound care center in Port-au-Prince with the intent of preventing people’s legs, feet and toes from being amputated, this month found himself back in the devastated city to perform the surgery he tried so hard to avoid — amputations. He did it not because of diabetes, but in order to save lives.
"It is chaos here — terrible injuries, people crushed, compartment syndromes — many of which are ending up in amputations," reported Dr. DeHeer, who served as a wound care director for a field hospital at a United Nations (UN) compound overseen by Project Medishare in Haiti’s capital city. "I just assisted on a below-the-knee amputation with an orthopedic surgeon on a 12-year-old girl. It is overwhelming."
This type of limb removal surgery, such as the one Dr. DeHeer described, has become all too common since the disaster hit. Infections, such as gangrene, have made amputations imminent without enough antibiotics and proper sterilization. The '/>"/>
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