October 29, 2012
They would come wrapped up in a red biohazard bag. Grimly dubbed "red presents" they contained the remains of amputated limbs. 99 times out of a 100, they were from a diabetic who just never got their blood sugars under control. Infection would set in and the surgeons would begin to earn their nickname of sawbones. In other words, completely preventable. The worst was when it was a repeat amputation. A stumpectomy, if you will. The patient had an amputation just above the ankle. But still the infection continued to ascend up the leg so the surgeons removed more. It seemed utterly futile to me. I'm sure that patient probably would be dead within a year. If the infection didn't get them, failing kidneys, a heart attack, or a stroke would claim them. They were a victim of an abusive and viscious process that had raged out of control for decades. I wanted to take a picture of the grisly pile of flesh to show my future recalcitrant diabetic patients so I could say to them, "THIS is what is in your future if you don't get your diet under control."