India is a vast country with a large number of individuals in the community with various disabilities. It had been estimated that there are roughly 0.62 amputees in India per thousand population. This translates to close to one million individuals with amputations in the country.
Amputation represents an irreversible surgical option which may result in physically challenged and bodily disfigurement. Amputation is a major health burden on the families, society, and on medical services as well. Traumatic limb amputation is a catastrophic injury and an irreversible act which is sudden and emotionally devastating for the victims. In addition, it causes inability to support self and the family and driving many patients toward various psychiatric disorders.
Diabetes is a leading and very huge epidemiological crisis in India with over 15% of population affected. 50% of foot ulcers in diabetics end up getting amputated despite conventional treatments. Studies show that the greatest absolute increases in the number of people with diabetes will be in India. Amputations can be prevented by Hyperbaric treatment in diabetic foot ulcers and gangrene in up to 80-90% patients. It has been estimated that up to 50% of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations are performed on diabetic patients.
Statistics and studies show that below-knee amputations are the most common amputations, representing 71% of dys-vascular amputations there is a 47% expected increase in below knee amputations from 1995-2020. The number of amputations caused by diabetes increased by 24% from 1988 to 2000. Of persons with diabetes who have a lower extremity amputation, up to 55% will require amputation of the second leg within 2?3 years. Nearly half of the individuals who have an amputation due to vascular disease will die within 5 years. This is higher than the five year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
There are no studies from India eliciting the outcome of cost-effective intensive management of diabetic foot complications. Even as India is growing economically, there remains a widespread inequality in income distribution and a large segment of the population still remains poor. Coupled with this, the healthcare sector is still disorganized; while state-of-the-art corporate hospitals do exist and deliver high quality care, they only cater to about 5-15% of the population who can afford them.
Government sponsored medical care caters to economically disadvantaged patients, but the queues are long and it is difficult to get timely treatment. This leaves a large segment of the low income population outside the government safety net. Such patients undergo catastrophic economic stress should they have to pay for more than basic health care.
Dr. Suma K S, MD, CWSP. a Hyperbaric medicine and Wound Care specialist who practiced in Lexington, KY for several years until 2018, formed a not-for-profit organization called the GV Foundation in 2014 with her husband. The purpose of this foundation was to offer affordable cost health care at international standards, promote nutritional education to prevent chronic lifestyle illnesses as well as encourage medical research. As it is a foundation initiative, the treatments are offered at a very affordable cost. As an American trained Hyperbaric physician, she trained the team and followed the treatment protocols according to the international standards.
GV Health Foundation partnered with a few other prominent organizations with a similar mission to offer low cost health care. One such organization is Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Trust.
Dr. Suma K.S. said, "We have formed a BMJH GV foundation Hyperbaric and Wound Care Centre at Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain hospital in Bangalore since March 2019. Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy was approved for treatment of diabetic foot ulcers in 2003. Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment makes patients breathe 100% Oxygen under pressure in an airtight chamber. This treatment makes Oxygen dissolve in the blood and multiply the tissue Oxygen delivery 20 folds. I have been in this field since 2004 and developed several wound care and Hyperbaric Centers in Lexington Ky. Kiran and I had established a comprehensive Limb Salvage program and successfully treated thousands of patients over the last 18 years.Well tolerated treatment with not much side effects, Hyperbaric Oxygen can also help in radiation injuries in cancer patients, severe infection following road traffic accident injuries, severe burns, even in strokes, spinal injuries, autism etc. to name a few", she concluded.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri. Phoolchand Ji, President of Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Charitable hospital said, "Ever since collaborating with Dr. Suma's initiative, we have been making big differences in the lives of people. As a charitable hospital, such initiatives are of prime importance and we are glad we associated with Dr. Suma for the same and supported her in opening a first of its kind state of art Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy unit at Mahaveer Jain Hospital. Since its inception, we have had a very impressive array of patients and success rate of 100% here at our Centre. We are proud to have made such a remarkable difference in the lives of those patients and given them a new lease of life by initiating the No Amputation Campaign" he said.