- Title: HAITI: Ray of hope for thousands of Haitians who lost limbs in devastating quake
- Date: 1st May 2010
- Summary: VARIOUS OF CHILDREN GETTING OFF CART
- Embargoed: 16th May 2010 13:00
- Location: Haiti
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Health
- Reuters ID: LVACY9XETXJ62QMKFUEC8HLNZ7TM
- Story Text: Hundreds of people who lost limbs in the massive January quake are being treated at a prosthetic and rehabilitation center at the Albert Schweitzer hospital in Deschapelles, Haiti, 60 miles (96 km) north of the capital Port-au-Prince.
The devastating January 12 quake killed over 300,000 people but also left thousands more injured, many of whom suffered amputations of limbs crushed under the rubble of homes and buildings.
The Albert Schweitzer center was one of the few hospitals that went undamaged by the quake. Its proximity to Port-au-Prince meant it's team of surgeons worked around the clock.
Now the hospital is following up on amputations with prosthetic center sponsored by a group of donors led by the Hanger Orthopedic Group.
Dr. Jay Tew is the head of the center.
"Truthfully, the patients at the center, they're very well healed and their range of motion is good and their limbs are good. We're dealing more with acceptance of the limb than teaching them how to walk. They're able to walk very well but accepting the limb is the crucial part and we've worked with them closely and they're doing very well. After we're finished with alignments and fitting, they are cosmetically shaped to be more aesthetically pleasing to the color of the patient and the shape of their limb," he said.
The staff is largely made up of prosthetics experts from Hangar and Physicians for Peace.
Staff doctors say demand for prosthetics was already high in Haiti due to diabetes-related amputations, but skyrocketed after the earthquake.
Dr. Claude Hillel, the hospital's head of physical therapy, said people flood in all at once but they also help each learn how to use the new limbs.
"Everybody arrives at the same time, so it's not spread out evenly throughout the day. Everybody is here, but at the same time it's difficult and it's helpful because they help each other in the treatment. So, it's kind of like group therapy. It's difficult for the therapist because you have many people asking things all at once. But I think it helps the patient to have that kind of dynamic," Hillel said.
Among those being treated at the hospital is four-year-old Hudson. Hudson, who lost his two brothers, is one of hundreds of victims who was pulled from the rubble days after the quake.
Accompanied by his mother, Maryse Lindor, he was now trying to adjust after surviving the quake.
"Four days after the quake, at almost one in the morning, the child's godfather sent me good news. He said, 'Maryse, you can calm down. We found Hudson under the house'. He was crying under the house," Lindor said.
In Haiti's fragile economy, where poor infrastructure makes it hard to get around, a lost limb often adds up to being immobilized. Lindor said now her son can do what he needs to do to move forward.
"I'm happy to see he has the protest because before it was very difficult for him to go to school. It was difficult for him to go to church, the bathroom. When it rained I had to carry him. But now that he has the prosthetic leg he can get around on his own," she said.
International aid workers are striving to care for more than 1 million homeless Haitian quake survivors who are camped out in makeshift tent and shelter communities sprawled across the wrecked capital and in other damaged towns.
Aid workers say that unless safer, more secure shelter is found for the hundreds of thousands of homeless quake victims, the imminent rains, and the hurricane season starting on June 1, could cause another humanitarian catastrophe.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: Footage contains identifiable children: users must ensure that they comply with local laws and regulations governing the publishing of this material.