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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Number of Haitian Amputees On the Rise; Help Needed

Published February 1, 2010 11:10 AM by Elizabeth Puliti
In an article on CNN, I read that the 7.0 earthquake that ravaged the country of Haiti has created what experts are calling "a generation of amputees."

As a result of the disaster, at least 2,000 people have lost limbs. According to Dr. Mitra Roses of the Pan American Health Organization, some hospitals have been performing between 30 and 100 amputations a day, many of these on children.

CNN notes that many people commute by foot or bicycle in Haiti, making amputations especially difficult to live with and accept.

"What I fear is that if I can't walk, I can't go to school and I can't go to church," one boy who lost his foot told the news outlet.

While children in particular are at risk of losing an education, amputees of any age are at a disadvantage as the environment consists of roads and sidewalks that are in bad shape, and wheelchairs, crutches and canes that are limited.

"There are going to be many more disabled (now), and among them a large population of newly amputated patients, and that population is going to grow," Eric Doubt, executive director of Healing Hands for Haiti International, which provides treatment and rehabilitation to people with disabilities, told CNN.

Organizations such as Physicians for Peace, Handicap International and Healing Hands for Haiti International plan on collecting prosthetics, crutches, canes, walkers and wheelchairs, as well as producing between 300 and 400 emergency prostheses, and setting up a prosthesis production facility in Haiti.

Has your facility done anything to help those in need in Haiti? Let us know in the comments section below!

(Click on the organization links above to find out how you can help!)

2 comments

It has been 3 months since this article was posted and the therapy need in Haiti has grown exponentially. The Global Therapy Group created an out-patient therapy clinic at the Haitian Community Hospital in Petionville one month ago, to meet the needs of the many patients who have been released from the hospitals and rehab centers but have no access to follow-up care. We are seeing many crush injuries of the hands, ankles and LE's with significant contractures and scarring due to no PT/OT services being available for the past 3 months. Many amputees have still not been fitted or their temporary prostheses now need re-fitting. There are many stroke patients due to stress after the earthquake who now are living with functional losses. If there are any PT's who are interested in volunteering for a 2 week period in an out-patient setting, please contact us at dhutchinson@globaltherapygroup.org.

Donna , PT May 10, 2010 11:16 PM

Hi, This is Lora Boone-

I am a PT that recently volunteered in Haiti, and am planning a trip back at the end of this month.  I am also helping recruit PT/OT's to volunteer.  The need is SO GREAT!!!

I have come across a couple articles on this site, and a number of comments about PT's that want to help out.  

I went through www.crudem.org which is an organization that runs the Hospital Sacre Coeur in Milot, Haiti.  It was not damaged from the earthquake.  It is now the referral hospital for the Haiti area for earthquake victims.  

This hospital expanded from ~60 beds to ~300 to accomodate the continuous influx of patients.  The patients are mostly orthopedic in nature, as well as wound care.  We are trying to mobilize as many of these patients as possible, and provide as much therapy services as we can, while hoping to establish a rehab center.  Ideally, we would like to have 5 therapists there at any given time.  When volunteering through this organization, transporation is self-pay which is a hurdle for many that are interested.  I am starting to fundraise and take donations to aid in the transportation costs for volunteers.  Any contributions would be extremely appreciated.  I was hoping we could also post something on the website to help spread the word?  

www.crudem.org is the organization that runs the Milot hospital.  

Billguyol@me.com is in charge of volunteers.  

I can be reached directly at rehabinghaiti@yahoo.com

I have also started a facebook group called "Rehabing Haiti"

Thanks and let's spread the word!!!! Lora.

Lora Boone, Rehab - Physical Therapy March 5, 2010 12:22 PM
columbia MO

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