'Don't do as I did' advises MLA Peter Weir after losing toe in diabetes diagnosis
FORMER education minister Peter Weir has had a toe amputated after he admitted "ignoring" early symptoms of diabetes.
The DUP Assembly member, who will be in a wheelchair for weeks, urged people to learn from his experience.
Mr Weir first noticed a small cut on one of his toes just over a month ago, which quickly spread to an infection in his foot, he told the Belfast Telegraph.
He was admitted to the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald and then to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
"On the first day I was diagnosed as a diabetic, having previously been undiagnosed. That led to a much more rapid spread of infection," he said.
"I required an operation on my foot, which resulted in the amputation of one toe and the removal of infected tissue. That has meant, for the next number of weeks, I will be in a wheelchair."
The Strangford MLA praised medical staff who cared for him, saying that it if it not been for them "it could have been a lot worse".
He added: "Politicians are often accused of being two-faced or hypocritical. This is an occasion on which I hold my hands up and admit that I am saying 'Do as I say and not as I did'.
"I urge people to learn from my situation."
Mr Weir said he would advise people to take early action if they have any health concerns.
"Although they may not have been glaringly obvious there were some signs of potential symptoms," he told MLAs.
" I took a slightly negligent route by ignoring them and, as a lot of us tend to do, saw things happening to me and put them down to age, which was wishful thinking.
"If people have a concern over the development of symptoms of any level, they should not simply dismiss them and take early action because doing so is also of deep benefit to the health service through saved costs down the line.
"Early action could ultimately save your life so I urge people not to do as I did and instead see your GP, go to the minor injuries unit and get things dealt with at an early stage."