Mercelina: Amputations on the rise in St. Maarten

Mercelina: Amputations  on the rise in St. Maarten

Dr. Luc Mercelina (stooping, front left) and Julian Rollocks Jr. (stooping, second left) and their support group.

SUCKER GARDEN--Diabetes and peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation) are responsible for most leg and foot amputations in St. Maarten, Unified Resilient St. Maarten Movement (URSM) leader Dr. Luc Mercelina told attendees at a Health and Wellness event held on Arch Road in Sucker Garden, in December.

  The event was organised by URSM candidate Julian Rollocks Jr. and the St. Maarten Diabetes Foundation. Mercelina said the number of leg, foot and toe amputations are on the rise.

  More than 50 persons of various backgrounds had their health checked at the event. Mercelina said when he started working in St. Maarten in 1999, he performed an average of one amputation every six months as a consequence of the complications of diabetes. This number has now more than tripled. “I am going to shock you: to tell you the truth, it is now two amputations per week. At this particular moment, the statistics of what I am doing as a surgeon at the St. Maarten Medical Center, confirms two amputations per week. Do you realise what that means for society, if I am going to amputate every week two persons over a time span of 52 weeks in a year?” Mercelina asked.

  In his research, Mercelina said it had been discovered that 25% or one in four persons in society do not have health insurance. “Unfortunately, this 25% represents the less fortunate in our society. The rates for diabetic foot complications are driven by a complex set of factors, including poor diets, poverty and barriers patients face in accessing necessary resources, like proper health insurance, including foot-care support. An integrated diabetes strategy and approach will be a solution that will work to reduce the burden of complications for people affected by the disease,” stated Mercelina.

  He complimented Rollocks Jr. for taking the initiative to organise the event, and said he looked forward to the next few events, which are planned for this year.

  Rollocks Jr., who will be contesting the next elections on the URSM slate, said that he was overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up for the event, and said he looks forward to planning more, similar events.

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