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Preventing Amputations Starts with PCPs

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 29, 2013

Motivated to "Never Give Up'
Mustapha is touched deeply by his patients' experiences. He recalls a man in his late 50s who had visited other physicians and believed he had no other options, but an amputation. The patient desperately hoped otherwise. The man had read about Mustapha in a newspaper article, and came to see him for advice.

Indeed, the patient had been told that, "he had no options and needed an amputation," Mustapha recalls. The patient had had diabetes since childhood, but had led an active life as a teacher and sports referee. He simply wanted to keep his leg long enough to "walk his only daughter down the aisle in 6 months," says Mustapha.

Thanks to Mustapha and his team, the man was able to realize his wish. The surgeons were able to revascularize his limb, and amputation was avoided. "One of my most prized possessions is a photo of him walking his daughter down the aisle," he says. "Four years later, he is still very active and thankful for each step he has taken without pain in the past 4 years."

"It is patients like him that motivate me to never give up." [For more on what drives him, watch the video at the end of this column.]

Undertreatment Observed
Non-specialist physician awareness of vascular ailments, particularly peripheral artery disease, isn't where it should be. An extensive Harvard study in 2012 showed that peripheral artery disease (PAD) remains "under diagnosed and undertreated."

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