Moves in Medicine: Amputation alternatives

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Imagine having a major medical issue where not one, not two, but five doctors tell you an outcome that you aren't comfortable with. One Delaware man continued to ask for another opinion. He not only found a better answer - he's thriving because of it.

George Murphy of Bear, Delaware can finally put his shoes on.

"I went to my father-in-law's funeral and my sister-in-law's funeral in slippers because they couldn't get a shoe on my foot," he said.

George, who is diabetic, had gotten a cut on his leg that got infected and swelled.

"It just wouldn't heal and kept on getting worse and worse," he said.

The 78-year-old saw five different doctors who all told him because blood flow wasn't going through his leg, they were going to have to amputate from the knee down.

"It was pretty depressing, you know, really depressing," he said.

Then a family friend told George and his wife, Beverly, about Dr. Eric Choi, Chief of Division of Vascular Surgery at Temple Health.

"When he just looked at and said I can fix that. I can't even describe what that was like," said Beverly.

"The blockage extended from his groin all the way down to his mid-calf that we needed to bypass and we decided to use veins in the arms, both arms in fact, and basically hook it together and get it all the way down there," explained Dr. Choi.

The seven hour surgery was a success, not only improving George's circulation but also his heart function.

"I credit Dr. Choi with saving my leg, otherwise I'd have what maybe the other one would have gone to who knows or maybe my heart would have gone," said George.

Dr. Choi said when it comes to medical decisions, don't give up.

"If you think that you don't have any options, particularly when somebody tells you that you'll need a leg amputation, I think you should seek a second opinion and maybe even a third opinion," he said.

George and Beverly agree.

"You have totally given him back his independence," said Beverly.
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