Third Time’s The Charm: Tony’s Story

April 4, 2022

Tony had three operations with Dr. Saleh, two on the right foot and the third on the left.

One in five people who live with diabetes are at risk of diabetic foot disease, and more than 20% develop foot complications. This is because diabetes can cause nerve damage and poor blood flow circulation to the legs and feet.

If untreated, a small foot injury such as a blister or cut can quickly become infected and more difficult to heal, which can lead to serious complications.

This was certainly the case for Humber patient, Tony, a diabetic who had many infections on both feet.

Tony’s Journey of Care with ownhealth

Tony’s family doctor referred him to Dr. Asem Saleh, a Vascular Surgeon at Humber River Hospital who is part of a virtual network of healthcare providers called ownhealth who specialize in comprehensive diabetes foot care.

Tony met with Dr. Saleh back in 2019, where he evaluated the infections and checked the blood flow in his feet. From there, Dr. Saleh saw he had extremely poor circulation in both feet.

“We were concerned that he could possibly lose his toes. That’s how infected his toes were at the time when he met Dr. Saleh,” Maria, who is Tony’s sister-in-law, said.

Thankfully, amputation was avoided under Dr. Saleh’s excellent care. Tony’s first surgery was scheduled at the Hospital in one of our Interventional Radiology Suites – a hybrid operating room with medical imaging equipment that allow surgeons to access small, intricate places like veins.  The procedure opened up the veins in Tony’s toes. It was a successful surgery, but that wasn’t enough for Dr. Saleh.

In fact, he ended up operating on Tony three times, two on the right foot and the third on the left, to give him the best results possible.

“Dr. Saleh could’ve done one surgery for Tony, but he did it two more times because he felt that he could do a better job,” Maria said. “After the first surgery, he wanted a better result for the second time and then finally felt that if Tony did one more surgery, he would have the best results possible, which he did.”

Post-Surgery Check Ups

For the next two years, Tony would visit Dr. Saleh once every two weeks for post-surgery comprehensive wound care and surveillance.

Although the process was incredibly painful and has been a long journey for Tony, he is doing much better and no longer has any open wounds on his feet.

“The fact that he was able to get such great blood flow compared to what he had really made him heal and I’d say over a year is pretty quick. It speaks to the care Dr. Saleh provides,” Maria said.

Today, Tony is in the final stretch of his care and only visits Dr. Saleh once a month. Tony said he is so grateful to have met Dr. Saleh and his team and thanks them for the care they provided.

“Kudos to them for doing such an amazing job! We’re definitely happy!” Maria said.

Learn More About ownhealth Today!

Humber River Hospital is proud to help revamp the way diabetic foot complications are looked after with ownhealth. Dr. Saleh and Dr. Kerry Graybiel, the Division Head of Vascular Surgery at Humber, first launched ownhealth during the pandemic.

They focus on treatment and education for managing diabetic foot disease and wounds. Their team of physicians and staff are the first network of its kind to provide comprehensive, convenient and multidisciplinary foot care for Ontario residents, like Tony, with diabetes.

Click here to learn more about ownhealth now!