New treatments an alternative to amputation -

New treatments an alternative to amputation

The amputation of a limb can be a terrible, but necessary, medical procedure. But now, new technologies and treatments are bringing hope to anyone who might be facing it.

It's hard to believe that at one time, John Diener was told he had six months to live.

Doctors had amputated his left leg a few years before, and he was being told his other leg had to be removed or he would die.

He decided he wasn't going to do that again, so he was put in hospice care. Diener has diabetes and other health issues. He had lost hope.

But that was three years ago. Since then, Diener has found new doctors.

Dr. Barbara Aung is a podiatrist and certified wound specialist. She says amputation should be the last resort.

"Once a person has one amputation, they're likely to have another amputation in three to five years," she explains. "And the mortality rate in a five-year time period is about 50 percent once you have an amputation."

Many patients can be at risk for amputation. They might have diabetes, high blood pressure, or vascular disease, for example.

But there are many alternative treatments available now, everything from hyperbaric chambers to bioengineered tissue and vascular surgery.

Dr. Aung's wish to save patients' limbs and thus save their lives is why she is helping start the first Arizona chapter of the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation.

It's a group whose membership includes doctors, nurses, patients, physical therapists and others who meet to share innovative treatment and care ideas.

The idea is to get the word out, especially to doctors.

"We want to save those limbs, and we think by doing that, we are actually saving their lives down the road," Dr. Aung explains.

She says sometimes there is no alternative to amputation, but patients need hope – what she calls "armor."

Diener agrees.

"To have doctors believe in you and do whatever they have to do is just great. And that's the biggest thing," he says.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Fugitive Friday: Central Virginia's Most Wanted

    Fugitive Friday: Central Virginia's Most Wanted

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:04 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:04:54 GMT
    Fugitive Fridays tracks down Central Virginia's most wanted. Take a look at the photos and see if you can help police track down these suspects.
    Fugitive Friday helps track down Central Virginia's Most Wanted.
  • Six deadly foods for dogs

    Six deadly foods for dogs

    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods
    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. But these common snacks could be fatal for Fido.
  • Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Parents desperate to get their troubled sleepers to bed are turning to synthetic melatonin, which is a supplement sold over the counter. But expert warn it could have adverse effects on child development.
    Many adults turn to sleep aids like melatonin, but now more parents are giving them to their kids, too. We talked to physicians to see what they had to say about how it could affect your child's development.
Powered by WorldNow