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Woman's leg amputation on hold due to executive order

Lori Faber
Lori Faber
Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 23:03:04-04

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Certain medical procedures are not being performed during Governor Whitmer's extended stay-at-home order.

But there are people we spoke with who say their surgery should be considered life-saving.

According to the Michigan Ambulatory Surgery Association, there are currently more than 390,000 people who need some form of outpatient surgery.

The governor's executive order has put a majority of them on hold. Like Lori Faber's amputation of her leg.

“When you have dead bone inside of you and it is continuing to die and your foot is dying on the end of your leg it’s horrible," said Faber.

She had a motorcycle accident on private property in Michigan in 2015. The Cedar Springs woman crushed her ankle and almost lost her foot.

“I do lymph massages and epsom salt soaks and take anti-inflammatories and elevation and ice packs and everything I can to reduce inflammation,” she said.

Faber has has five surgeries in two years. Doctors performed two bone grafts as well, but when her body rejected the hardware and she couldn't breathe, it had to be removed.

Lori says she recently had a CAT scan showing her bone was dead in her leg. That's when doctors gave her a shot of cortisone.

It caught fire, anger in my ankle and it caused the bone to die faster and it caused increasing swelling rapidly.”

Her husband's been driving her around and she's had to use crutches because it's too painful to walk on her own.

“The dead bone had gone too far for fusion and so we agreed that amputation was my only option," said Faber.

But under the governor's stay-at-home order, non-essential procedures are on hold. Those are the ones that are not necessary to address a medical emergency or preserve the health and safety of a patient as determined by a medical provider.

Lori says a note from her doctor says in part, "I want you to know that we are concerned about getting your issue resolved as quick as possible. This is not an ideal situation for you and I don't want you to think that I am minimizing your situation. Until further notice, we are unable to proceed with the amputation."

“So they tell you they cannot help you and they send you home to get gangrene is basically what they’re telling me,” she said.

Lori tells FOX17 that a blood test showed no sepsis or gangrene but yet she's worried they could develop and spread.

“I can feel it but it can’t be quantitatively measured in a test tube and they go by that one blood test number and if that blood test number is ok then they tell you ‘you go home and wait’."

She understands that everyone is under extreme pressure now, she's not the only one needing surgery, and medical staff is overwhelmed.

“But I am one person being shoved under the carpet because no one has to take responsibility for me," she said.

Spectrum Health sent us a statement saying in part, "This is a difficult time. Elective and non-emergency surgeries have been postponed due to the governor's executive order, but also because it was the right thing to do... During this time, urgent and emergency procedures, surgeries and appointments are being conducted daily. We cannot comment on this patient's condition due to medical confidentiality. However, please know that our physicians continue to review all surgeries, radiology exams and in-person physician appointments to ensure we preserve the health and safety of each patient."

Spectrum says urgent surgeries are still taking place. That includes procedures like removing blood clots and cancerous tumors. Doctors are also working on heart bypass surgeries and traumas that come in.

Chemotherpy and radition treatments are continuing as well for some patients.

As for Lori, she says her next appointment is in June, but she's still not sure when she'll have the surgery.