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PatriciaRN
PatriciaRN, Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 534
Experience:  35 years of nursing experience, 2 in ER, 1 at Planned Parenthood clinic
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his ankle..was the problem] got a serious infection on his heel

Customer Question

My husband had surgery on his ankle and subsequently, infection from the cast [I believe that was the problem] got a serious infection on his heel. It was alcerated and he has been on intravenous for [8] months, along with antibiotic medication. Severe swelling and several trips to the hospital. As of todays date, the diagnosis was to amputate a.s.a.p. due to the infection. He also has Parkinson's.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  PatriciaRN replied 7 years ago.
Hello, Napoleon,

I'd like to ask you a few questions.

What is the question or questions you would like to ask regarding the situation with your husband?

Are you trying to decide whether or not the amputation is the right course of action to take?

Did your husband's doctor mention that he had osteomyelitis, or a bone infection, in the heel?

Is your husband diabetic, and does he have any other chronic medical problems besides Parkinson's disease?

What is his age?

Is his mobility limited?

Is he taking any medications, and does he smoke?

Please let me know and perhaps I can be of help.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

No he is not a diabetic - no smoking an generally in good health other than the "P".

Good blood flow apparently. The physicians have not suggested it has gone to the bone as I questioned exactly that. As for the "O", I am not really sure as so much has gone on.

Expert:  PatriciaRN replied 7 years ago.
Well, it doesn't sound like you are clear on the reasons why the doctor wants to amputate.

Since your husband is not diabetic, then chances are, from the history you give, that the bone is infected from either the invasion of bacteria into the heel wound, which may have spread to the bone and was not wiped out by the antibiotics, or because of dead tissue which has formed in the wound due to lack of oxygen to the area or to the infection. In either of these cases, the doctors may be considering that amputation is necessary in order to remove the dead and/or infected tissue and preserve the rest of the leg.

However, if you have some doubts or are not clear on anything, then it would be very wise to have a conference with the doctors and have them go over with you all the tests that were done (Dopplers, CT scans, MRI's or similar), what they showed, and whether or not there are any alternative treatments that could work, such as debridement or removal of dead tissue, whirlpool treatment, more antibiotics, etc. Also, you would need to discuss with them the plan of care and rehabilitation for after the amputation, if that is the way you decide to go.

Be sure you are satisfied with the explanations they give before you proceed. Part of the health care practitioner's job is teaching and informing the patient and the family of all the aspects of their care.

Also, remember you can always ask for a second opinion from someone if you have not done so already (but it says that there were two orthopedic surgeons involved). It's important to have this talk soon, though, because it sounds like time is an important factor here.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask a follow up question if you have one.