My name is James McKee, and I am a podiatrist. A podiatrist is a physician and surgeon that treats conditions of the foot, ankle and lower leg. I specialize in high risk podiatry, treating people with diabetes, vascular disease, and other comorbidities. I have founded the Diabetic Survivor website to help people who have diabetes, their families, high risk patients, and those who are at risk for diabetes.
In training I had a recurring experience; patients would come into the emergency department with a foot that was badly infected. The patient had waited too long, the infection was too severe, or perhaps the blood flow was poor. Sometimes the patient had stopped taking their diabetes medications (anti-hyperglycemics, insulin, etc), which always ends badly. It was usually a combination of the above, and each patient was unique. What was not unique, is that I often had to go into the room and tell the patient that they were going to lose their foot or leg.
As you might imagine, this is a horrible experience. I did not like having to give the patient this kind of news. I have two feet and two legs personally, and would not want to hear the news that either was going anyplace without me. After talking through the treatment plan with the patient, as I sat writing the voluminous paperwork (called charting), my mind always returned to the same question. Why didn’t they come in earlier?
There were many reasons. At first I was hesitant to ask such a question when the patient was grappling with the idea of amputation. But as I progressed and saw more and more people in the same situation, I started voicing the question that, like a ghost, entered all of these rooms with me. The answers varied; sometimes the infection set on very quickly, or they lost blood flow suddenly, some had ill-fitting shoegear, and most were not regularly checking their feet. After hearing many given answers, I decided that the problem was actually education, they had not been educated, and their lack of education had now hurt them.
Let me be clear about something.
Diabetes is a disease that will kill you. Diabetes is a disease that will KILL YOU.
The purpose of this site is to educate you. You may have diabetes personally, or you may have family members or a friend with diabetes. Here I will post a series of articles and informative pages. I want to help you avoid the many complications of diabetes. Knowledge is power, and I want you to leave here after every visit with a little more of that juice. At some point in your life you will realize that nobody gets out of here alive. Not this site, just here in general. So I can’t stave off the reaper forever, but I (and my team of author’s) may be able to help you live a happier, healthier, fuller life.
James C McKee, DPM
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