Black and African American residents of the Mississippi Delta are facing an amputation epidemic born out of a history of racial inequity. This health crisis was spotlighted on Life and Limb, a segment that premiered on BET News in 2023 and re-aired this Martin Luther King Jr. Day as part of the ‘America in Black’ series. In his practice at Cardiovascular Solutions of Central Mississippi and Fusion Vascular, Dr. Foluso Fakorede is working to save lives by preventing unnecessary amputations. He is also a new Amputee Coalition board member who joined in January 2024.
Statistically, Black Americans are 2 times more likely to experience diabetes-related amputations than White Americans and 4 times more likely to experience amputation for any reason. This is due to doctors disproportionately recommending that Black patients undergo amputations. According to the documentary, patients particularly in the Cleveland, Mississippi zip code experience high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and clogged arteries which result in wounds on their lower extremities that often lead to infection.
To catch vascular issues, such as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), early enough to save limbs, Medicare and Medicaid needs to pay for vascular screenings that people in impoverished areas would otherwise go without. Without these crucial screenings, it is often too late, and many are forced to resort to amputation. Dr. Fakorede is a proponent of these legislative changes, such as the Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act, and advocates on behalf of his patients.
“As we delve into the urgent topic of the preventable non-traumatic amputation epidemic, it’s crucial to raise awareness and emphasize preventative measures,” Dr. Fakorede said. “Our recent collaboration and the forthcoming BET documentary shed light on the gravity of this issue. Let’s join forces to share the documentary link and spread the message across social media, blogs, and emails. Together, we can make a meaningful impact and inspire positive change.”
Learn more about what has contributed to this issue by watching the full video, Life and Limb, on BET’s website and sharing it with others. Visit Cardiovascular Solutions of Central Mississippi’s website for more information.