Gosport amputee’s warning on why diabetes patients should check their feet

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CHECKING your feet regularly is crucial for diabetes patients – Barrie Smith should know.

The 74-year-old Type 2 diabetic had to have his lower leg amputated after a thorn became stuck in his heel.

Barrie Smith will talk at an event in Fareham run by Diabetes UK. Picture: Paul Jacobs (143307-3)

Barrie Smith will talk at an event in Fareham run by Diabetes UK. Picture: Paul Jacobs (143307-3)

Diabetic patients can suffer from loss of blood circulation in their feet, which means they do not always feel pain.

Barrie walked around with the thorn in his foot for two months before it became infected, causing the need for the amputation.

Now, ahead of giving a speech on Monday at an event in Fareham organised by Diabetes UK, he is warning other diabetes sufferers to keep an eye on their feet to avoid suffering a similar fate

Barrie, from Gosport, said: ‘I don’t blame anyone but myself for this.

‘I had been advised by my GP not to walk around barefoot, but I never bothered. One day I had someone cutting back the rose bushes in my garden and a thorn had found its way into the house.

‘I was walking around with no socks or shoes on and stood on it, it became impaled in my heel. I didn’t feel any pain and carried on walking around with it in my heel for two months before I then got a sharp pain.’

Mr Smith, who was the headteacher at Rowner Junior School, showed his doctor, and he was referred to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

Despite going through different treatments, doctors could not rid his body of an infection that had developed from the cut and it had started spreading.

Mr Smith said: ‘I was told by a consultant I could either die with my leg, or live without it.

‘I had no sensation in my feet and didn’t know I was carrying the thorn around.

‘As a result the infection had spread on to my lower leg and it needed to go.’

Mr Smith’s lower left leg was amputated in March 2008, and since then he has used a prosthetic limb to help him get about.

Monday’s diabetes event will be held at Ferneham Hall in Osborn Road, Fareham, where MP Mark Hoban will also be speaking.