Sunday, 25 December 2016

About a Diabetic gangrenous foot and negligence in its care with dexamethasone injection

 Dr Smruti Mandar Haval 

Dear readers,

You must have used dexa injection for various purpose in your daily OPD. But a wrong unthoughtful injection of same can destroy someone's life. Hence as a primary care physician it is our duty to educate patients and fellow physicians, AYUSH or complementary medicine practitioners about use of various allopathic drugs.

This is story of mrs.X who came to my OPD on one heavy Sunday OPD. She was a known case of diabetes,IHD,HTN and was on irregular treatment due to unawareness of issues related to its complications. She has a trivial trauma from her footwear and gradually she developed sepsis and gangrene.

Initially they took it lightly and went to a non qualified physician who prescribed her few IV antibiotics and gave a dressing. To reduce her pain and other complaints as a routine practise in rural India yet he gave her one shot of dexa. She got relief for some time but did not understand that her sepsis has flared up. They wasted another 2 days and during that she develop dry gangrene with wet gangrene changes.

With someone's advice they went to a surgeon and later underwent debridement and amputation of 3 fingers of one of the foot. One physician was managing this but as they find it difficult to go to him regularly for follow up they gave up and start visit of one more non allopathic physician.

Things were ok but sugars were uncontrolled and she developed few more patched of gangrene over her amputated part of foot. Mean while due to her pain she gave up her food, was on liquid diet/IV fluids and that too relatives were feeding her in lying down position.(?aspiration pneumonia start).

During this phase they read about my news diabetic foot can be saved in newspaper and they came to me .When she came to me she was hypotensive still on hypertensive drugs, no aspirin for her PVD status, patches of gangrene has set in which require amputation, cough with crepitations, foul smelling but without pus wound cachexic lady.

I did try to talk to relatives, ask them to avoid continuous lying down posture, no feed in that position ,movement of limb in bed minimal ambulation etc. Also I told them about improving nutrition via diet and only glucose or RL IV won’t help.

I also did amputation for her gangrene patches and gave her fresh dressing with antibiotics, insulin etc. She was doing ok for 2-3 days post my visit but on day of her follow up she developed ? MI or aspiration pneumonia as she has symptoms of chest tightness, dyspnea and uneasiness. These symptoms can be of hypoglycaemia too with use of insulin therapy and skipped meal by her last night.

They phoned me but as I was out of hospital I ask them to show other doctor. When she reached there she has vomiting and situation deteriorated then he shifted her to other place for further intensive management .After this I have no news about her.


This case raised many questions in my mind like does a stoppage of dexa injection in time could have reduced her sepsis? Is IV fluid therapy is the treatment for patient satisfaction or small meal counseling to relatives works better? Can intensive insulin therapy aggravate her symptoms or any other cause is there for her health deterioration.

I still feel if she would have come to me early and not wasted her time with quacks she would have been in better position today. I am still hoping that she is doing well and is in safe hands now.


Dr Smruti Mandar Haval (Dr. Smruti Subhash Nikumbh); M.B.B.S.D.N.B. (Family Med),M.N.A.M.S.,P.G.D. Diabetology & Geriatric Med; Certified International Diabetic Educator by Project Hope & International Diabetes Federation (IDF) USA; Consulting Physician in Family medicine, Diabetology, Preventive Cardiology, Thyroid disorders & Geriatric Medicine; C.E.O. Sukarmayogi Publishers, Sankeshwar Dist: Belgaum, Karnataka; Assistant Professor, Department Family Medicine, USM-KLE IMP,Belgaum

Area of practice: Sankeshwar, Dist – Belgaum,Karnataka. Epidemiology of your area in brief: It’s an semi rural area covering more than 50 km radius including many villages. Its USP is it’s an border area connecting borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka which makes it an multiethnic area. Common chronic health diseases are diabetes, hypertension, asthma, hypothyroidism etc.

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