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Submitted: 12 September 2017 Modified: 12 September 2017
HERDIN Record #: CAR-UCBCF-17091215000893

Life or limb: Experiences of diabetic amputees. A phenomenological study.

Jefferson  S. Galanza,
Mary Rose C. Balisalisa,
Gil Kenneth B. Castillo,
Kyla Mae A. Fermin,
Jenny Angelica Fernandez,
Editha Marie G. Flores,
Clarizze Jade C. Hermoso,
Fraya Joy B. Nebrija,
Shaun Bryan A. Quinain,
Quennie V. Reinoso,
Trishia Mae F. Salguet,
Ghislaine Anne D. Sarmiento

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One of the most common complications of diabetes is diabetic foot ulcer and is frequently accompanied by infection leading to amputation. Understanding what it is like to be amputated because of diabetes is crucial in providing quality nursing care, yet little work has been done to address this issue, especially in the Filipino context. Phenomenological qualitative design was utilized for this study. The primary method of data collection was unstructured, individualized-face-to-face interview done at participants' home. The Ethics Review Board of Saint Louis University approved the study protocol and was conducted from January to March 2017. Data was gathered from six purposively selected participants from Baguio City, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Inclusion criteria include individuals who have undergone amputation related to diabetes regardless of age, religion, occupation and co-morbidities. Recorded interviews were transcribed, pseudonyms were used to label the files and transcripts were stored in a password-protected computer. Rigor was addressed by prolonged engagement, member checking, peer debriefing, coding-recoding, external audit, and reflexivity. Three major themes with their corresponding subthemes emerged from the accounts of the participants utilizing Collaizi's method of data analysis. These include "A Critical Decision" (Proactive Choice, Collective Decision Making); "Living a Limbless Life" (Helplessness, Miseries, Spiritual Struggle); "Standing Tall" (Acceptance, Taking Precautions, Blessed to have support, Productivity-Independence). The findings of the study illuminated the life world of diabetic amputees. The participants portrayed a track on how they, together with their family came to decide to choose life. Their statements revealed how weak they felt on the physical and psychological aspects of their lives and the realization of how indifferent people can be for an incapacitated person like them. The dreadfulness of their experiences eventually leads some of them to think that they are being condemned by the creator. With the help of their loved ones, the participants eventually managed to accept their current condition and adjusted to function independently, and eventually to stand tall and be a strong disabled amidst difficulties. Nurses should provide thorough health teachings to diabetic clients specifically on prevention of complications. Likewise, nurses should be trained to conduct psycho-education or psychotherapy pre- and post-amputation. The Philippine government should also reinforce implementation of the National Diabetes Act of 1996 specifically on the prevention and control plan, and the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities. Lastly, greater sample size via longitudinal approach is also required for future studies.

Publication Type
Research Report


To explore and have an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of Filipino individuals with diabetes-related amputation.

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