Monday, January 18, 2010

Prosthetics for Haiti

I know that the immediate need in Haiti for the past week has been just food and water. The medical need was urgent, but you had to keep the injured alive long enough for medical treatment to arrive.

But there is a long term need that will need to be addressed as a result of the past week.

Injuries that could have been treated rapidly and successfully with an intact, medical infrastructure have gone days without treatment. The injuries became infected. By the time medical help arrived, the only way to control the infection was by amputation.

According to a news story I saw tonight, doctors have been performing an average of about 70 amputations a day.

I have no idea how the numbers play out, but I can easily imagine that in addition to being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti could also wind up with the highest number of amputees per capita in the world.

Prosthetics are expensive. Each one is custom made to fit the patient. The patients need to be trained to use the prosthetics.

There will need to be a huge humanitarian effort to provide prosthetics and physical therapy to the quake victims.

I don't know how to set up a fundraising effort like that and I'm not responsible enough to lead it even if I did.

But if any of you can suggest the best venue for channeling funds to this very specific cause, I would support it and promote it in every way possible.

27 comments:

Bob said...

Hey, for an "it's all about me" guy, I applaud your foresight and concern. I had the same perspective tonight, realizing that the people of Haiti(particularly children)will have a definite need for prosthetics. When I searched the subject, yours is the only link that appeared! I can't really help with fund raising, but would make my one contribution to Haiti to this cause. Please keep your post active and I hope you get some support.

JJ in SoCal said...

Wow, I came across this blog after typing in 'Haiti prosthetics'. After seeing the same report last night I also realized there will be a need or them in the near future. Being an amputee myself, to start I will be donating my old prosthesis for the cause. I am sure with some modifications it will serve someone. Tomorrow I will be contacting my prosthetist at Hanger Inc. to see what else can be done.

keyedinlegalservices said...

I too am watching the coverage and thinking we need to do something about prosthetics. If I can be of any help, hit me up. I have a friend who works for Hospice, and I am going to see if she has any ideas/contacts.

San Diego

Tori said...

I was just watching my local news and seeing the amount of amputations that are being performed. I too thought there needed to be a fund for Prostetics for Haiti. This is going to be a very important part of the Haitian Recovery effort. Who do we need to talk to?

Tori said...

Helping Hands for Haiti is an organization that has been lending aide with rehabilitation and prosthetics in Haiti for years. This is the organization to donate to!!http://www.healinghandsforhaiti.org

I Travel for JOOLS said...

I would think the US Military has about as much experience in this area as anybody with their experience in Iraq. Maybe their expertise, equipment, even spare prosthesis parts could be used somehow to help. I would bet the service men and women would love to get involved. Now how to get that started, I just don't know.

Carson said...

Hi Folks. I'm a Prosthetist and also manage a Not for profit called Cambodia Trust. We've been in SE Asia for 20 years, dealing with the landmine situation in Cambodia, but spreading our expertise to Indonesia, Sri lanka and soon Philippines. (training folks from 18 countries)

You're all asking good questions, and i applaud the far sightedness, and i ask you to bear in mind, Haiti will need trained people (Haitians) to work the life-long requirements for fitting, re fitting, repairing and maintaining prostheses. Check out what we've done in Cambodia see www.cambodiatrust.org.uk we have good and cheap technology,, the recycled legs are a nice idea, but a nightmare for spare parts etc in the long term,, let's try to work the long term picture,,, these amputees need action in about three months from now,, talk to me.. Carson

Merari said...

Yesterday I did a search regarding affordable prostetics. I found that Stanford University and another small unniversity (the name escapes me, they are also in a disagreement as to who invented it first) have invented a $20 prostetic knee. I am trying to get more info and see how these can be manufactured in mass quantity for Haiti. The issue is that especially for children, prestetics have to be replaced quite frequently due to wear and tear.

http://www.physorg.com/news159030845.html

Leroy said...

Healing Hands for Haiti has been providing Prosthetic and Orthotic (P & O) services to the people of Haiti since 1998; initially they were performed by visiting prosthetists and orthotists from the U.S. and Canada. We are going to need a lot of help to respond to the Quake, and the best way to do that is to donate.
http://www.healinghandsforhaiti.org

Anonymous said...

Please consider donating to the Prosthetics Outreach Foundation Haiti Fund. http://www.anewleg.org
In 20 years we have helped over 20,000 people in the developing world walk again. It's very important to rebuild local prosthetics production capacity because prosthetic limbs wear out and break. They must also be custom-fitted. Please feel free to phone us with any questions, (206) 726-1636, and thank you so much for your interest. Fred Jacobs, Director of Development

Tim said...

I am discussing options on fundraising and partnering with a mfr to send prosthetics over... My cousin runs a non-profit and this may fall under the charter... Anyone interested in helping?

Liz said...

http://www.healinghandsforhaiti.org/

And there is a link there for their canadian site. They have been the only source of prosthesis for Haitians but their building was destroyed in the earthquake and some of their staff killed. They have the north american contacts ready to go in and help as soon as the situation has stabilized. The best thing people can do is fundraise and if they have any contacts in the manufacture of prosthetics that would be willing to help, send them the links. This is so critical for these children.

Anonymous said...

it's critical in the next few weeks, but not critical this week or this month, or next month, for that matter. PLEASE don't send prosthetics,, these are custom fitted devices and old prostheses are useless, we made the same mistake i Cambodia twenty years ago,,, think long term, think lifetime,,, these kids will need three new limbs a year for the next 10 years then one a year for the folowing 60... BUILD LOCAL CAPACITY

KM said...

I commend all of you for expressing your thoughts and wanted to get involved. St. Vincent's School for Handicapped Children in PAP employed Haitian deaf men who were first trained in the US, but who then trained apprentices, to manufacture (in country), fit, adjust and repair prostheses. The need now will be astronomical, and St. Vincents was demolished in the quake and everything was looted. I think the model of training Haitians and employing them to do the work is what Haiti needs. I think we should all strive to see that several excellent labs are built in Haiti and that Haitians are trained and employed as well as nurses and therapists to provide physical therapy and other services. In the meantime, thousands of crutches (all sizes) are going to be needed, as well as canes and wheelchairs (especially for double-amputees). It may be months or years before people can be provided with prostheses but we should start on all of this now.

Sarai said...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35103003/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake/

This article carries a list of organization providing help for amputees....

Newt said...

About a week into the news reports from Haiti, I thought the same thing. Feeling so inadequate, not being able to do something for these people, I thought why not start a campaign to send artificial limbs to Haiti? I even went so far as to purchase the domain name www.prosthesisforhaiti.org.

I began investigating what I would need to do to start getting prosthesis' donated by inquiring with a family member in the health care industry what my first steps might be. I found out quickly that prosthesis which are no longer used are destroyed. I was told firstly how expensive they are, how involved the fittings become, and how poorly fit limbs can cause severe ulcers and infections to the amputated area. I quickly realized my idea to help in this regard would require resources completely out of my grasp.

I am just happy to hear there are others who thought as I did and that there are people out there, with the proper resources to help, already doing the work that will be needed once the amputations heal.

Anonymous said...

my girls, 5 & 4, are both below the knee amputees and do not go through 3 legs a year..each leg lasts almost two years.

Nancy said...

CNN Larry King- 01/30/10
He and a Ms. Miller discussed this topic - specifically the need for crutches at this-point-in-time for the amputees. The site was a physcians ???.org. Does anyone have the site?
I can attest to how difficult it is to learn to walk again with atrophied muscles. I got the sense that this physcian site would provide info as to a local drop off for these as well as prosthetics.

Tim said...

I may focus on crutches and wheel chairs. That may make more sense than prosthetics at this point. It would fill an immediate need. Does any one know of any organizations willing to ship them or take them with them on their way to Haiti?

Tim said...

watch www.walkonfoundation.com. We are starting a central PA campaign called Help Haiti Walk On. Monetary donations are accepted as well as crutches and canes. Tell your friends and families! Lets help Haiti!

Marnie H said...

Healing Hands for Haiti have been providing physical and rehabilitation medicine to the people of Haiti for over ten years. They've been working with Handicap International over the past few weeks to address the overwhelming issue of amputation and recovery. Your best bet is to visit their site and donate www.healinghandsforhaiti.org

Tim said...

We (www.walkonfoundation.com) have started collecting canes, crutches, walkers and wheel chairs. We are showing our progress on the website. CURE International and the World Surgical Foundation will be shipping and distributing them as needed. We figured these devices will be needed sooner than prosthetics and are much easier to collect. Almost everyone has an old pair of crutches llying around.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Thank you for starting this blog. In 2 weeks we will be sending a prosthetic specialist down to Haiti. Currently we are accepting used prosthetics, cleaning them and dying the feet so they can be used for Haitian amputees.We will be casting 30 amputees for prosthetics this first trip. We are planning to create a prosthetics clinic in Haiti and will be training the Haitians how to measure, fit and build their own prosthetics. Join our cause!
Wyoming Haiti Relief and Precision Prosthetics - http://www.wyomingprosthetics.com/HaitiRelief/tabid/91/Default.aspx

Nancy said...

The Haitian Health Foundation in CT received positive press,so after reading the Wyoming Prosthetics post, I made this contact with them in southeastern CT.
They are accepting vrious medical supplies.The crutches as well as wound care supplies are just part of a much longer list.

In an e-mail, CT HHF has shared that the needs at its clinic in the greater Jérémie area have expanded exponentially since the earthquake. Protein-rich food sources are in short supply, etc.

www.HaitianHealthFoundation.org
I plan to drop some bulky items off before April and will share my experience. Please keep the post active.

Carson said...

The prosthetic providing organizations have organized themselves and are working closely with Gov and eachother, a national strategy and code of practice have been agreed, and so has a policy on education of technicians and the proper use of appropriate technology.

Pattie said...

The team at ProsthetiKa.org ProsthetiKa is currently building a fully functional lab within two shipping containers bound for Haiti. It will be set up in Port au Prince next to the hospital. Founder, Jon Batzdorff will lead a 6-member team of prosthetists, therapists and technicians to both service those in need as well as train Haitian technicians to enable the continuation of the work. They are looking for donations as these prosthetics and services will be free of charge to those in need. He's done this at other places around the globe. Check out their website.

Xavier Onassis said...

Well, this is interesting.

ProsthetiKa claims on their website to be a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

And yet a search for "ProsthetiKa" on irs.gov yields the following results:

Search Results
You Searched for: prosthetiKa

0 results found

To conduct a new search, use the search field at the top right, or select Advanced Search for more search options.

Your search did not match any IRS.gov web pages or documents.

If they were listed, here is the page they would be listed on:

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=206973,00.html

Not seeing them.

Thinking I might spend some time here:

http://www.irs.gov/compliance/article/0,,id=181292,00.html