The incidence of diabetes is growing at 7 per cent to 10 per cent a year and has resulted in an increase in amputations of 25 per cent in two years, according to Diabetes NSW. “We talk about this issue as the [medical] tsunami of the modern age,” says Sturt Eastwood, the chief executive of the organisation.
Orthopaedic surgeon Gary Fettke has said walking around the wards of the hospital where he operates is ‘like going into a leper colony”. Patients “are depressed and frightened of this disease that is eating away at them,” he says.
“Twenty years ago… I was treating diabetes complications with amputations of toes, heels, feet and below the knee once every five to six months,” says Dr Fettke… “Now I am amputating every week and this year, twice some weeks.”
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