Limb Loss Awareness By: St. James Parish Hospital
April is Limb Loss and Limb Different Awareness Month. Amputee-coalition.org reports that more than 2 million Americans live with limb loss or limb difference and more than 28 million are at risk of amputation surgery. Amputations occur for a number of different reasons, including trauma and as a result of long-term conditions such as diabetes. One of the most important ways to help prevent limp loss involves effective wound care management—especially for at-risk patients and those living with diabetes and circulation issues.
In addition to seeing a specialist at the first sign of a wound, diabetic patients should keep in mind the following tips.
- Check your feet daily for any irritation, skin tears, callouses, blisters or open wounds
- Wash your feet daily with warm soap and water. Dry feet and in between toes gently with a towel
- Use a moisturizer to the skin of the feet after washing to keep skin hydrated
- Do not walk barefoot or wear shoes without socks
- Do not try to remove corns or callouses on your own
- Do not warm your feet with a hot water bottle, space heater or foot spa
- Take your medications as prescribed by your physician
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly
- Exercise regularly
- Wear well-fitting shoes
St. James Wound Care Clinic, a department of St. James Parish Hospital, specializes in the treatment of hard-to-heal wounds to help patients prevent both infections and amputations. St. James Wound Care Clinic is conveniently located in the Medical Plaza next to the hospital. To schedule an appointment or make a referral, call 877.295.2273.
In August of 2020 local patient Sherry Vicknair fell, causing a serious wound to her lower leg. She ended up in Skilled Rehab at St. James Parish Hospital and was eventually discharged to the Outpatient Wound Care Clinic at the hospital.
While being treated at the wound center for her leg, she suffered another fall on her patio that resulted in additional wounds to her head and her thigh. Since she was already being treated at St. James Parish Hospital’s Wound Care Clinic for her initial wound, she continued treatment here.
When asked about her experience at the clinic regarding Covid and safety, Ms. Vicknair said, “I have never been concerned about Covid at the clinic; I witness the staff constantly cleaning and wiping down surfaces. They wear their PPE the whole time, the waiting room chairs are socially distanced, and my temperature is checked upon arrival every single time.” She laughed and continued, “I am surprised the staff still have skin on their hands for as many times as I’ve seen them wash their hands!”
When asked about Dr. Charles McGaff, the general surgeon currently treating Ms. Vicknair in the clinic, she said he only has her best interest at heart and that he and the staff rescued her limbs. Ms. Vicknair has these words of advice for anyone who has reservations about going to the clinic for treatment, “Put your worries in the garbage can and go right now, it could save your limb or more importantly, your life!”
“The staff takes such good care of me, they’re never in a hurry, I always feel like I am the only patient they are treating.”
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