Unsalvageable: Preventable Amputations Rise During COVID

Leafer Miller didn’t hear much after the doctor told him they had to “sacrifice the leg.”

Lying on the emergency room gurney, the self-proclaimed video game nerd and former athlete struggled to comprehend life without the leg that had propelled him on the track and to the turf for tackles on the soccer field.

“It was always in the back of my mind as a worst-case scenario,” the 35-year-old Fresno, CA, native says. “But I wasn’t expecting that to be the case.”

The amputation was the result of a recurring American narrative: A diabetes diagnosis in his early 20s; a sequence of layoffs and hirings that left his insurance status in flux; missed primary care visits when providers went out of network; and skipped insulin doses due to unaffordable price tags.

“Sometimes, it would come down to insulin or rent,” Miller says, “I felt like my hands were tied.” … read more