Tue, 08/23/2011

Berliner doctors have saved my leg

How much a leg is worth? Andreas Wagner knows. For insurance companies the 58-year-old from Hanover assesses the value of homes, factories, airports and palaces. One leg is worth € 70.000, he says.

For Andreas Wagner his right leg, however, is "priceless." He almost lost it, had he listened to the advice of doctors in Hanover. But Wagner was lucky. He came to the specialists of the Vascular Center Berlin-Brandenburg of Hubertus Hospital in Berlin. On crutches, with a monstrously thick right leg and with little hope Wagner arrived in Berlin. Without aid, on two slender legs and with a smile, he left the hospital two weeks later.

Wagners problems had started 18 years ago. Wagner has a congenital circulatory disorder called Factor V Leiden mutation. This means he has an increased risk of getting blood clots. After searching for the right treatment for years doctors told him that his leg had to be amputated. "That was a shock," Wagner says.

But he would not accept his fate. His daughter researched on the Web and came across the Berlin association "amputee initiative”, which was founded in 1991 by Dagmar Gail. In 1988 one of her legs wad amputated - unnecessarily, as she says. Since then she helps people with circulatory problems with advice. Gail convinced the man from Hanover to sit in an ambulance and come to Berlin to the certified Vascular Center Berlin-Brandenburg at Hubertus Hospital. When he arrived in Berlin he was a picture of misery, or as the head of the vascular center Clemens Fahrig says: "He was in a pretty sorry state: His right leg was swollen, very thick and he had a large open wound on his foot."

First Wagner had surgery. The ulcers and necrotic tissues were removed from the wound on his foot. Then with a special vacuum pump the germs were drawn from the wound. To cover the wound on his foot aesthetically, a flap of skin from the thigh was removed and transplanted on the foot. Finally Wagner got daily lymph drainage, special foot massage, which promotes the flow of water from the lymphatic system.

Every once in a while Andreas Wagner travels to Berlin to Hubertus Hospital for follow-up treatment. Once he was even reviewed by some 200 vascular physicians from all over Germany, which met for a congress at the clinic. And for Andreas Wagner one thing definitely is clear: "The doctors of Hubertus Hospital saved my leg."


Read the original story (in German) here (this link leads to a webcache-page)