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Late in life, an agonizing choice over surgery

By the time I met George, in 2002, he was already prone to ulcers — a result of flat feet and decades of poor circulation — and he required a complex combination of antibiotics, ointments and dressings. I gave what advice I could, referring him to an infectious-disease specialist who helped cure one of the largest ulcers.

By April 2009, things were worse. George had a large ulcer that would not heal on his left foot and was requiring hospitalizations and intravenous antibiotics. One surgeon strongly advised a below-the-knee amputation of the left leg.

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