Amputation: Smokers learnt the hard way

G. Ranganathan, a 50-year-old man from Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, is one of the 44 patients whose leg has been saved by stem cell treatment.

He had already lost his right leg due to TAO. He has been smoking for the last 25-odd years.

“My right leg was amputated in 2005 and doctors had advised me to stop smoking. But I started smoking for 6-months after stopping it for nearly one-and-half years,” he said.

Though his leg has been saved, the toes could not be saved.

He has no pain while resting. “I can walk for about 20 feet. But the shoe hurts me when I walk,” he said.

Just like Ranganathan, V. Malliswaran of Vellore, Tamil Nadu, also has no toes in his left leg that has been saved by the stem cell treatment.

A smoker for the last 15 years, the 38-year-old Malliswaran has quit smoking after the treatment.

Fifty-nine-year old S. Mohammed Ibrahim of Vellore, Tamil Nadu, is lucky, though. “Before the [stem cell] treatment I could not walk more than 20 feet,” he said, “but today I can walk for even 1 km.”

“I have no pain in my leg after the treatment,” he said. “I am able to go to work.”

He has stopped smoking after the treatment, though he once used to smoke 50-60 cigarettes a day. He started smoking when he was 18 years old.

His toes had no nails and he had boils on his toes before the stem cell treatment. “All my toes have nails now and there are no boils,” Ibrahim said.