New Greece Shoe Policy for Diabetics Favors Amputation | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

New Greece Shoe Policy for Diabetics Favors Amputation

When she picked me up from the airport recently, Katie Beth shared a shocking story she’d just heard on the news about diabetes patients in Greece receiving foot amputations instead of special shoes.

Here’s how the diabetes shoe-story was reported in Keep Talking Greece:

Greece kills diabetes shoes“If this isn’t an incredible story, I don’t know what it is! The National Social Security Foundation-IKA, the largest health & pension fund in Greece, has decided that the diabetic foot is not necessary! …In a letter to the Pan-Hellenic Federation of Associations of People with Diabetes, IKA wrote that the fund has ceased to grant funds for diabetic shoes, as these special shoes do not prevent patient’s amputation. Amputation can be merely delayed for one to two years. ‘The expected benefit is less than the estimated cost, therefore the foundation does not cover the costs for the shoes,’ concludes IKA.”

I also read a couple of doctor’s blogs and forum posts on the story. I guess I kept hoping to find one to give context and explain that it’s not really so. That didn’t happen.

A discussion of the shoe v. amputation ruling on a podiatrist blog:

“You get an amputation, increased cardiac impact, increases incidence of death within five year…..BOOM! The grave.

Problem taken care of.

I hate to be so lurid but the actuaries will tell you the whole story. By denying the use of diabetic shoes and moving toward more amputations, the Greek politicians are not only affecting the healthcare dollars but also the pension dollars. They are not just chopping off limbs, they are chopping off budget dollars in huge amounts and they need to make the cuts. Sadly, no pun intended.”

Diabetes foot care and shoes are the patients’ decisions, right?

“Every 30 seconds a leg is still lost because of diabetes somewhere in the world. In order to improve diabetic foot care, we need simple rules…”  So begins the well known 10 commandments of the diabetic foot published by the British Medical Journal via the National Institutes of Health. I think foot care was the first and only thing I knew about diabetes for a long time. People I met with diabetes didn’t go barefoot.

I had very little understanding of these needs of diabetes patients. I still don’t have that much. But it’s haunting to imagine someone making those choices for a patient.

I do not want someone deciding for me about my surgical options or Biologics medication either. Not government. And not insurance. I should decide if and when I move on or give up or cut short any part of my life.

Gives new meaning to the saying, “Cut off your nose to spite your face.”

Does the Greek government get that at all? Having patients die sooner saves them money, but at what cost? What is Greece if not her people? What is the point of any country without valuing the life of her people?

I was really upset the day I first heard this. Maybe it was the merciless TSA who drove me to tears or maybe it was the Briton on the plane who mocked me for using a wheelchair. Or maybe it was remembering my travel companion’s parent actually endured amputation a few years ago from diabetes. Anyway, to me, this is no practical policy. This is about real people who won’t walk again or who will die sooner because of this macabre plan. It’s cutting off your foot to spite your shoe.

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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25 thoughts on “New Greece Shoe Policy for Diabetics Favors Amputation

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Rest in peace SHOES & Feet for Greek #diabetes patients: -- Topsy.com

  • October 29, 2010 at 9:27 am
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    Everyone on that board who decided they should lose that grant for shoes needs to have their feet amputated. Yeah I said it, and I’d gladly wield the axe.

    Reply
  • October 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm
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    Shocking! Utterly shocking! I pray that this action in Greece is not foretelling of our own fate with the new healthcare bill.

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  • October 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm
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    I’m afraid I think this may happen here, eventually.
    Now, isn’t that a cheery thought?

    Reply
  • October 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm
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    At first I felt like we must band together as those with autoimmune diseases. Then I thought, no – we must band together as human beings!

    Reply
    • October 29, 2010 at 6:04 pm
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      Sounds suspiciously of part of the new health care bill and the death panels, first they make the drugs impossible to get due to cost, then enventually make care impossible to get cause your either too costly or too old…scary it can happen here if we don’t keep on top of what is going on. :razzmad: This is simply outrageous! Thanks for keeping us posted Kelly!

      Reply
      • October 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm
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        O I hope not! But we should all be aware & watching to see what they do & what the bills say. We shouldn’t let this happen here – either by government or private insurance. We need thorough reform that respects the value of life & patient’s rights.

        Reply
  • October 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm
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    That is wrong on so many levels!

    Reply
  • October 30, 2010 at 1:12 am
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    Kelly,

    This is totally off topic but I just read that there’s A RECALL on INJECTABLE METHOTREXATE (some lots/vials) due to glass being found in the vials. Below is a link for the Arthritis Foundation with more details.

    It appears that the Company is in the process of notifying the appropriate people of the recall but in the mean time I wanted to send to you to get the word out… this is extremely dangerous and potentially DEADLY!

    http://www.arthritistoday.org/news/injectable-methotrexate-recall095.php

    Here is part of what the article says regarding the recall:
    Sandoz, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis in Princeton, N.J., is one of several suppliers of generic methotrexate. The company is voluntarily recalling all of its 50mg/2mL and 250mg/10mL vials of injectable methotrexate that are part of the Sandoz and Parenta brands and have expiration dates ranging from December 2010 to March 2012.
    “Sandoz is initiating this voluntary recall of all 24 lots of the affected product following the finding of small glass flakes by Sandoz quality control in a limited number of vials in four lots,” the company explained in a press release.
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been notified of the recall. The company is also alerting retailers, wholesalers, pharmacies, doctors and patients. The company says people should stop using the methotrexate they have immediately if it’s part of the affected lots. You can find the affected lot numbers on the Sandoz U.S. website and for more information, visit http://www.us.sandoz.com.

    Many Blessings,
    Mel

    Reply
    • October 30, 2010 at 10:19 am
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      Thanks Mel. I put this on our Facebook & Twitter pages already. But it’s important enough to post it everywhere. I’ll go post it on the bulletin board too.

      Reply
  • October 30, 2010 at 8:36 am
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    This is terrible. What is the next step? Not providing them insulin because they are going to die anyway, might as well get it over with? This is what frightens me about a national health care system. I do not want some faceless politician choosing the fate of my health care and future! Lets face it!

    Reply
    • October 30, 2010 at 10:34 am
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      Ha! I dont care even if he does have a face. I don’t want ANYone deciding for me or my doc what is best for my future. 😛

      Reply
  • October 30, 2010 at 9:15 am
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    The people have caused such an uproar, resulting in the shoe company (I believe, possibly the insurance co.) to now provide shoes to the people who need them. Citizens/patients can make a difference.
    Before I had read the article I thought, why can’t the cost of shoes be deducted from the amputation bill if/and when an amputation is needed? Give the patients an option instead of slamming the door on it.

    Reply
    • October 30, 2010 at 10:36 am
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      Thanks, Rachel. I do hope that some one steps up for the patients. I did read some background & the shoe price had been greatly inflated due to the fact it was covered under national healthccare. The shoes could have been sold far more cheaply if it were w/out corruption.
      You’re right – citizens need to put their foot down, so to speak, on matters.

      Reply
      • October 30, 2010 at 10:43 am
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        It is the fact that “they” changed a policy because of the people’s response that I liked. I would say Greece is a bit jumpy about mass demonstration. You don’t need to post this. Just sharing a quick thought!

        Reply
        • October 30, 2010 at 11:04 am
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          oops, I already did. I post everything. 🙂 I have a relative (by marriage) from there. Can’t wait to hear his take on it – still has family there.

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  • November 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm
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    And yet another reason why I don’t think socalized healthcare is the way to go. Speaking as a diabetic with feet (so far.)

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  • November 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm
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    I’m not sure if it is still the case in the US or not, but Medicare would pay for grafts for diabetics with foot wounds, but would NOT pay for a walking cast. Without the walking cast, the graft would often not work and amputation was the end result. Which of course, Medicare would pay for.

    Reply
    • November 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm
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      Scott, I didn’t know that fact, but I’ve run across similar ironies with RA. Hopefully, education & advocacy will make a difference. sigh.

      Reply
      • November 5, 2010 at 11:30 am
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        Hopefully, sometimes it just feels like we’re preaching to the choir and the people who really need to know are sleeping thru the sermom

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  • February 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm
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    Well, this was the verdict of one IKA employee,which when the matter came in the mass media, was immediately withdrawn by the Ministry of Health. So now, diabetics can order shoes.

    Reply
  • April 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm
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    What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads.

    Reply
  • September 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm
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    Being type two and on methotrexate (pa),I think that the little **** on the plane need a good hiding and im not anti British as I am one.

    Reply
  • September 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm
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    Sorry should say Needs

    Reply
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