Treating diabetic wounds at patent medicine stores increases risk of amputation, experts warn

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Diabetic care specialists have warned persons living with diabetes against going to patent medicine stores and chemist shops to take care of their diabetic wounds, noting that doing so increases their risk of ending up with limb amputation.

According to the specialists, asking patent medicine store staff and chemists – who are unqualified to care for diabetic wounds on the leg can cause the wounds to deteriorate and result in further complications that could lead to the amputation of the leg.

They stressed that caring for diabetic foot sores requires special care that the chemists cannot provide.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the experts, a professor of medicine with the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Dr. Okon Essien and a matron with the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Mrs. Rachael Adeoti stressed that taking care of diabetic wounds goes beyond the dressing.


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Essien, who is a specialist in endocrinology likened going to a chemist to treat diabetic wounds to a person whose cloth is torn but decides to visit a carpenter to mend it.

“Actually, the chemist is not trained to manage illnesses. They are trained to dispense medications but they are doing so many things now.

“However, the people that go there must have their reasons for going there for healthcare. Sometimes it is near and convenient to them.

“Sometimes they think anybody selling medication has an idea of what to do. Sometimes they try to save money because they believe that if they go to the hospital they will pay.”

He said while it is a question of choice which they are allowed to make, the attendant consequence could be deadly.

“Sometimes the person will justify why they do it, however, they end up in the hospital when the wound has been messed up and at that time, it is already too late and they are offered the final treatment which is a lifesaving amputation,” he said.

He explained that to take care of a diabetic sore, “You control so many things: blood pressure, you’d check if the kidneys are functioning optimally because if they are failing, the chance of coming out of that wound is very reduced.

“So there are many things that are done in the hospital while treating the wound of a diabetes patient. That is why we advise patients to go to the hospital.

“The hospital will know what to do for you. It is not just about buying drugs or going to dress the wound. There are many things you should not dress the wound with but if you go to those sorts of places to dress your wound as a diabetes patient the people can do all sorts of things.”

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