More than 80,000 lower leg amputations are performed each year on patients with diabetes. A group of more than 40 local medical and non-medical professionals are trying to reduce that number. Two surgeons with the Ankle and Foot Care Centers have initiated the Mahoning Valley chapter of the national organization known as Save a Leg, Save a Life. Together with more than 40 other medical professionals from the area, the two doctors are working to carry out the organization's mission of reducing lower leg amputations by 25%. On Monday, the organization welcomed the co-founder of Save a Leg, Save a Life Dr. Desmond Bell.
"When somebody undergoes an amputation their quality of life not only decreases, but so does their chances of living past five years. They may lose the other leg in more than 50% of the instances and even a non-healing diabetic foot ulcer has a death rate that is much higher than cancer," said Dr. Desmond Bell, co-founder of Save a Leg, Save a Life.
"In medicine, there are so many different facets of it and it's hard to keep up with everything and everyone has their own strengths and fields. So, if we work together and have a common interest it will really make everyone have a better result," Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico | Ankle & Foot Care Centers
On average it costs about $49,000 a year for a patient to receive post-amputation care. That's about 61 times more, than the $800 it costs for limb salvage and care. Taking those figures into account, the organization believes $4 billion in healthcare costs could be save each year.