A man from Stockton who has survived two separate battles to save his foot has thanked the team of health specialists who have helped save it.
Ian Gamble has spent the last 25 years being treated at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
Ian, who is 66, has type 2 diabetes. This puts him at a much greater risk of developing problems with his feet due to the damage raised blood sugars can cause to sensation and circulation.
The ulcers and infections he has experienced have been so severe that doctors have considered amputation.
The issue first got to that stage five years ago and has done so again in recent months. Both times a the diabetic foot team which works across both hospitals and the community cared for Ian.
He was also treated by a wide range of specialist staff including:
- A diabetic consultant
- An orthopaedic consultant
- District nurses
He said: “I get ulcers very easily and have to be careful. A minor issue can very quickly become very severe.
“The foot first got to this stage six years ago when doctors were considering amputation.
“The second experience of this started in 2018 – my ankle got so sore and just exploded. It was like a hand grenade had gone off.
“I had surgery to scrape out the debris but I had a very bad infection in my foot as a result.
“After some treatments including a negative pressure device to help the ulcer on my foot to heal, doctors were again at the stage where they were considering amputation.”
Orthopaedic surgeon Paul Mackenney opted to carry out surgery at the University Hospital of Hartlepool. He used his innovative technique to fuse the foot together using an external fixator foot frame in place for nine months.
Along with treatments of intravenous antibiotics, this has helped Ian’s foot to make a dramatic improvement.
He said: “Mr Mackenney said he would operate. I trusted what he and the team were telling me.
“Surgery was a success. I had the frame on my legs for four months – a period where I wasn’t able to put any weight on it at all.
“Since January, I have been back on my feet and moving around. I can’t thank the team enough for what they have done.
“I have grandchildren and now I can do more with them. It really has changed my life for the better.”
Ian was treated by a multi-disciplinary team of staff including doctors, nurses, podiatry, orthotics and dietetics.
Claire O’Malley is one of the highly specialised podiatrists who treated Ian.
She said: “The success of Ian’s treatment really is a story of staff from a range of specialisms working together for a patient who has done everything we asked of him.
“Ian was in very real danger of losing his foot. He had an ulcer that was very seriously infected.
“His foot has improved dramatically and he is able to play with his grandchildren and to look forward to the future.
“At this organisation, skilled health professionals from a range of roles work together very closely to help our patients. It ultimately means better health outcomes and better care for our community.”