Vijay Viswanathan of M.V. Hospital for Diabetes says amputation must be the last resort; Diabetic foot clinic did amputations on 2, 000 patients

C. Rajeswari, a resident of Cuddalore, was worried about losing her leg when she developed an infection last year due to her uncontrolled diabetes.

Now, she is able to walk due to timely medical intervention and a multi-pronged approach that prevented amputation.

An employee of the agriculture department, Ms. Rajeswari said she underwent three surgeries and some therapies for over three months at the M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram, and her wounds were now healing.

Many others like Yasodha of Gummidipoondi and Marimuthu, a visually impaired person from Vellore, also share similar stories about timely medical treatment that helped them.

Clinic treats 80,000

Vijay Viswanathan, head and diabetologist, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, said in the past two decades, the diabetic foot clinic has treated 80,000 patients. Of this, only 2,000 patients have had an amputation, with infections being the main reason.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, Dr. Viswanathan said: “Amputation must be the last resort. Patients must be educated about foot care. Every measure must be taken to save the foot.”

In Rajeswari’s case, specialists such as a vascular surgeon, orthopaedic and plastic surgeons were involved. Her severe infection in the foot was complicated by poor blood circulation and damage to the ankle joint. An advanced healing method, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, where the patient is exposed to 100 per cent oxygen, was also used.

‘Dearth of podiatrists’

Pointing out that patients who lose legs also tend to lose their livelihood, Dr. Viswanathan said preventive surgeries should be given priority to improve the patients’ lifestyle.

However, there was a dearth of podiatrists, who specialise in disorders of the foot and ankle in the city, he added.

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