Local doctor warns of diabetes crisis in San Antonio

Carlos Aguilar, 57, came dangerously close to becoming an amputee a year and a half ago

SAN ANTONIO – Imagine losing your leg or your foot. It’s a scary thought, but an unfortunate common reality for people in Bexar County.

Doctors are having to amputate and remove limbs on more people in the county because of complications with diabetes, a chronic disease afflicting more than 13 percent of people in Bexar County.

Carlos Aguilar, 57, came dangerously close to becoming an amputee a year and a half ago. While taking a recent walk, he told KSAT he doesn’t take his legs for granted.

“I’m very grateful. First to God, and then to the doctor,” said Aguilar.

In 2022, Aguilar developed an abscess on his toe. As it continued to grow, his doctors became concerned they’d have to amputate part of his foot. But then, he sought a second opinion. That’s when he met Dr. Michael Sobolevsky, a podiatry specialist at the Texas Diabetes Institute.

Dr. Sobolevsky conducted several medical procedures and surgeries on Aguilar, to remove the infection on his foot.

“I washed it out...time and time again,” explained Dr. Sobolevsky.

While that was happening, Aguilar changed his diet and medication. It took three months for his foot to heal.

Now, Aguilar continues to control his diet and stay active. He continues to lose weight. His focus is on enjoying his future and spending time with his children and grandchildren-- the outcome Dr. Sobolevsky wants but also knows, not everyone gets.

“I do think it’s a crisis. I don’t want to be amputating. My colleagues don’t want to be amputating. These are things that can be avoided,” said Dr. Sobolevsky.

Dr. Sobolevsky said people with diabetes in particular must see a doctor the moment they notice a wound on their body that won’t heal.

“If you come in sooner, amputation does not have to be the option. It is preventable with good care,” said Dr. Sobolevsky.

After his experience, Aguilar wants everyone to listen to their doctors and not take health risks.

“I feel good. I feel really good now,” said Aguilar.

You can read more about diabetes care at the Texas Diabetes Institute, here.

Watch Stephania Jimenez’s full conversation with Dr. Michael Sobolevsky below:

About the Authors

Stephania Jimenez is an anchor on The Nightbeat. She began her journalism career in 2006, after graduating from Syracuse University. She's anchored at NBC Philadelphia, KRIS in Corpus Christi, NBC Connecticut and KTSM in El Paso. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Stephania considers Texas home. Stephania is bilingual! She speaks Spanish.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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