Op Ed in Arizona Republic: Ignorance on Amputation Prevention

August 31, 2009 |
    Shadegg showing health ignorance

In an Aug. 25 interview on FOX News, Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., nationally misrepresented my profession. Comparing podiatry to aromatherapy and acupuncture, Shadegg referred to podiatric medicine as an “esoteric demand that most people don’t [want] and don’t need.”

As president-elect of the American Podiatric Medical Association, I am appalled that my U.S. representative, who serves on a key House health-policy committee, is so uninformed about the essential health-care services I provide.

Arizona hosts one of the most respected and lauded podiatric medical schools in the country: Midwestern University. The head of the University of Arizona’s Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance, or SALSA, is a podiatrist who works with vascular surgeons to prevent amputations that result from diabetes. In just nine months, SALSA’s work has reduced high-risk, lower-limb amputations by more than 50 percent.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, amputation-prevention programs have reduced rates of amputation up to 70 percent – saving the health-care system up to $8 billion each year. This is hardly “esoteric.” It is vital to health care. – Dr.Kathleen Stone, DPM, Glendale

The writer is president-elect of the American Podiatric Medical Association.

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