A few years ago, while walking in the local park in Aden, Yemen; Salem Ruiss Saleh Alawlaqi pricked his foot on a thorn. Like any other incident in the past, he didn’t give it much thought at the time and later cleaned the small wound caused by the thorn. Soon, the thorn prick was forgotten. A few weeks later, however, he developed an infection around the thorn prick that he again ignored. The infection continued growing and soon developed into sores.
Very little is known about this disease which destroys skin, flesh, and bones. Madura foot was first reported in the mid-19th century in the Indian town of Madura, which is where it gets its name. It is a chronic, progressively destructive disease affecting the foot but can also affect other body parts including skin, flesh, and bones. Its obscurity is one of the reasons why it often goes unnoticed. Hence, the reasons for Salem Ruiss’s tardy reaction to the disease he was now carrying in his foot.
After about a year, the wound had grown into massive sores, and Salem Ruiss was forced to visit the local Hospital for treatment. It was then that he was diagnosed with Madura. He had the first surgery at the hospital believing that he would be cured. However, two years later, the disease was back and more severe than it had been before.
Frustrated, by his predicament, he decided to look for solutions elsewhere for improved treatment. “I was in excruciating pain! I had to use a lot of painkillers just to be able to walk from one point to another. At some point, I used to feel like I just wanted to cut off my leg,” Salem Ruiss says, shaking his head. However, by this time, the infection was at a very advanced stage. In a state of rush, his family was able to contact Vaidam for further investigations and preferred treatment. After looking at the options for best hospitals for orthopedic in India, the family decided to get treated at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai.
After looking at his reports, the doctors confirmed his worst fears: The fungal infection was on the verge of spreading to other areas of his foot. Salem Ruiss had to travel to India and arrive as soon as possible to stop the infection from spreading in its tracks.
Arriving at Mumbai on the 16th of March with his father Tawfik Nasser and his brother Saleh Hussein; Salem Ruiss was received at the airport by a Vaidam representative. Coming back to their hotel, they awaited their appointment with Orthopedist, Dr. Niraj Kasat, which was scheduled the very next week. “We were anxious and nervous before our meeting and really hoping for the best”.
Over the course of a month, Dr. Niraj tried multiple types of treatments to stop the spread of the fungus. The fungal form (which Salem Ruiss was suffering from) of Madura requires the prolonged use of antifungal drugs with significantly lower cure rates. This requires the use of two antifungal agents Ketoconazole and itraconazole.
“He was kept under close observation for two weeks, the dosage of the antifungal agents need to be precise for the reagent efficacy to stop the fungal infection from spreading,” recalls Dr. Niraj - listed among best orthopedic doctors in India. Over the course of two weeks, the experts at Wockhardt tried a number of treatments and a total of seven surgeries, but the disease kept recurring. Eventually, it was decided that amputating his leg was going to be the only option remaining. “The amputation has given me some peace, even though I know I am not completely cured,” he explains.
Shortly after Salem Ruiss received a prosthetic leg for his amputated leg. “It will take some time to get used to the new leg, but I think I will manage.” The doctor prescribed medication that he would need to take for the next year to ensure that the fungal infection doesn't return. After a month and a half in India, Salem Ruiss finally made his way back to his home country. “It’s good to be back home after being away for so long”.
Speaking to Vaidam over the phone he thanked us for the service and feels grateful with the help he received in India. We wish him all the best for the future and steady recovery from his illness.