Patient’s Legs Saved from Amputation by UConn Health Vascular Surgeon

"I am very grateful for my legs. I have Dr. Boutrous to thank and the staff at UConn Health," says Laurice Borders, 77, a very grateful UConn Health patient.

Borders with Dr. Boutrous.

Laurice Borders during her six-month follow-up appointment with her UConn Health vascular surgeon Dr. Mina Boutrous who helped her keep both her legs thanks to his vascular surgery skill to avoid amputation.

Laurice Borders, 77, of Danielson, Conn. just happily celebrated her 77th birthday on June 15 with two legs intact thanks to UConn Health and its vascular surgery team’s expertise.

Laurice Borders at UConn Health Putnam on June 28, 2024.
Laurice Borders at UConn Health Putnam on June 28, 2024.

Shortly after losing her husband in February 2022 from stage 4 lung cancer, Borders who is always hands on with her health, noticed a strange black spot on her toe.

“All of a sudden, I developed a black sore on the toe of my right foot,” recalls Borders who sought out lots of doctors and tests to no avail.

“The black spot kept getting bigger and bigger,” she says. Fed up with the lack of answers, Borders went to see UConn Health Putnam’s podiatry team of Dr. Michael Scanlon and Dr. Karla Scanlon.

“Dr. Karla Scanlon immediately referred me to UConn Health vascular surgeon Dr. Mina Boutrous. Scarily, Dr. Boutrous said to me that there was a good chance I was going to lose my leg. But he also said, ‘I am going to do everything in my power to save your leg!’”

It turns out due to being a past smoker, Borders was experiencing peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a narrowing of arteries and blockages of blood flow in both of her legs down to her toes. Her black wounds were getting larger and deeper.

Surgeon and happy patient together.
UConn Health Vascular Surgeon Dr. Mina Boutrous with his very grateful patient Laurice Borders at UConn Health Putnam.

“They were horrendous,” she recounts, and she even used over the counter wheat grass spray to self-care for her wounds at home too. “I was a smoker. But they put warning signs for cancer on the cigarette packages, but nothing about impacting blood circulation in your body that can kill you!”

She stresses to everyone out there: “First and foremost, don’t smoke. If you do, quit now, this was a dreadful price to pay!”

Borders needed a major open leg artery bypass surgery to save each of her legs. One at a time.

To proceed with the major surgeries to restore proper blood flow to her toes, in June 2023 Borders first needed to have her aortic valve replaced successfully. Then in July 2023 she had her first successful leg bypass surgery on her right leg with Boutrous at UConn John Dempsey Hospital.

“The long, complicated leg bypass surgery went well. It was painful, but I finally got back on my feet. For the next leg surgery, I wanted to be up on my feet the next day,” she said, and she indeed was in January 2024 after bypass surgery on her left leg with Boutrous.

“I got up right away after my second leg bypass surgery, went to rehab, and after a few days I was walking by myself, and went home earlier than expected.”

Six months later Borders says, “I am getting better and stronger every day! No matter what, it is all a wonderful outcome and preferable to amputation.”

Borders adds, “I was very impressed with Dr. Boutrous and the UConn Health team and their treatment plan. I am very grateful for my legs.  All my leg pulses are good and strong. I have Dr. Boutrous to thank and the staff at UConn Health.”

Vascular patient Laurice Borders and her UConn Health Putnam medical team
Laurice Borders celebrating her successful health journey with her UConn Health Putnam medical team led by Vascular Surgeon Dr. Mina Boutrous.

Borders, and her surgeon Boutrous, recommends anyone ever experiencing black toes to find a wound care and vascular surgeon specialist right away for intervention.

“For me timing was my luck,” says Borders. “Make sure you keep up to date with any changes in your body, and always be very hands on with your health.”

Borders, a mother of four, has always been hands on about everything. She is looking forward to keep living on her own and enjoying life and being able to still do simple things like grocery shopping.