Rosa Boyd could have lost her foot and part of her leg from complications, but specialized wound care completely healed a chronic sore on her foot. The 55-year-old diabetic patient can walk normally again without the assistance of a walker.
For more than a year, the Chicago west side resident suffered from a diabetic ulcer on the left side of her foot. The wound became infected and went deep to the bone. An infection was serious business for Boyd, who has had Type I diabetes for 31 years. Having lost a toe to gangrene in 2009, she was at risk of another amputation from this severe foot wound.
In January 2011, she was hospitalized at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (SMEMC) with a severe limb-threatening infection and the beginning of septicemia (infection in the blood). Michael Maghrabi, D.P.M., a board-certified podiatrist in foot and ankle surgery, performed extensive wound debridement, a surgical procedure to drain the infection and remove dead tissue to enhance the growth of healthy tissues and lead to healing.
The next month, Yukhol Lertsburapa, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon, performed a vascular procedure to help improve blood flow to her leg and foot. Boyd was then treated by Dr. Magharabi for six months at the medical center.
"Dr. Maghrabi is a very good doctor and surgeon," said Boyd, who retired after 10 years with a Chicago Public Schools lunch program because she could no longer stand on her feet for long periods of time. "I would refer him to anyone."
She said the doctor took his time during appointments, explained the procedures and told her what he was going to do.
Healing a Chronic Ulcer
Dr. Maghrabi would evaluate her weekly — measuring the ulcer and providing wound debridement to help the ulcer heal. He would then apply appropriate dressings using the most advanced products on the market. Boyd also received wound VAC (vacuum-assisted closure) therapy. This treatment delivers negative pressure (a vacuum) to help draw the wound edges together and remove infectious materials.
Diabetic patients are at risk for developing ulcers because they may have nerve problems and poor circulation. The lack of sensation in their extremities may lead to infection and ulcerations without patients even knowing it, because they do not feel pain. Circulation problems and elevated blood sugars from diabetes contribute to wounds healing very slowly or not at all. Diabetic patients must learn how to prevent sores and seek immediate treatment for the care of chronic wounds to avoid complications.
Pleased with Care
The mother of three and grandmother of four was pleased with the nursing care. "The nurses were very nice and took care of me real good," she said.
Thanks to Boyd's enthusiasm and determination — coupled with the expertise of the wound care team — she has regained her health and mobility.