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Arizona amputee waiting for help, searching for answers

Posted at 4:37 AM, Nov 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 08:28:18-05

READ PART ONE: Amputee fighting to get special shoes he paid for last year

He was hoping to get help with his balance issues after having his leg amputated, but instead, all Gilbert Trujillo of Globe says he got was let down, and now, his medical team is sounding the alarm.

For Gilbert, keeping his life meant losing something else.

“They said, ‘we’re going to have to amputate or you’re going to die tonight,’" Gilbert explains about the night he found out he was getting his left leg amputated due to complications from Type 2 Diabetes.

Adapting to his new life with a prosthetic leg hasn’t been easy.

“I have problems with my balance and that’s why I use a walker.”

So when someone recommended he meet with “Adam O” of Game Changer Feet, he went. Last December, Gilbert says he went to Adam O’s Scottsdale workshop and paid him $200 for special shoes to improve his balance, but he says something else happened that day as well.

“He took off the prosthetic and took off the knee joint and he says, ‘This way you can walk better.’ And to be honest, after I put the prosthetic back on, it did help my balance somewhat.”

But Gilbert goes on to tell us that not having a knee and not being able to bend his leg came with a price.

“When I went back to my car to drive home, it was almost impossible to get back into my car seat.”

Eventually, Gilbert took his leg back to his original prosthetist in Mesa, Ray Fikes.

“It was just a pipe. No knee,” said Fikes.

Luckily, Fikes was able to replace the knee joint at no cost to Gilbert, but worries this could happen to someone else.

“You marry amputees,” explains Fikes. “The limb isn’t growing back. You get involved in their lives, their daily activities, their homes.”

Fikes went on to say, “I’m trying to extend care to this amputee, and someone is experimenting on him.”

In a text message, Adam O acknowledges making the adjustments to Gilbert’s leg, but maintains Gilbert was happy with everything he did. He also says Gilbert could have easily put the knee back on himself. He claims he donated Gilbert a prosthetic foot worth $16,000. Gilbert says the foot donation never happened.

“When I go on his Facebook page and I see these posts about how he’s helped these disabled people, and I’m thinking, why am I not one of them?”

And speaking of those posts – we took another look at one in particular, showing Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, a veteran, who lost both of her legs in Iraq. We reached out to Sen. Duckworth’s office and they told us Sen. Duckworth doesn’t know Adam O and never gave him permission to use her photo.

Adam O blamed his webmaster for this and after we pointed it out, the ad was taken down.

We did ask Adam O multiple times to sit down for an interview, but he said he couldn’t because of a TV deal he has. Adam O did send us text messages he says proves he donated Gilbert that $16,000 foot, but when we asked to see more proof, like photos, he said he didn’t have time to look for them.

READ PART THREE: Can anyone make prosthetics in Arizona?