Houston group to donate artificial limbs to Haiti

January 22, 2010 2:14:08 PM PST
As the doctors on the ground in Haiti struggle to treat the thousands of injured survivors, a Houston organization is preparing to send to some much needed medical supplies. "Limbs of Love" is getting ready to send hundreds of prosthetic limbs and other supplies to Haiti. The people at the Amputee and Prosthetic Center along with the charity Limbs of Love believe there could be as many as a couple hundred thousand people who end up having one or more limbs amputated in the wake of the earthquake and they may have trouble recovering. There are not enough artificial limbs to go around when the need gets there. So the Houston group is hoping to donate dozens, if not hundreds, of them to people in Haiti.

Workers are already boxing those limbs and getting ready for a trip in a couple of months to send all of these prosthetics and additional parts to Haiti to help the people there. They're also going to send a prosthetist, a person who helps fit limbs to the patients and teaches them how to use them. That trip is expected to take at least a week.

The group is also going to be sending additional supplies and materials so that prosthetics can be created there in Haiti. Those can be custom-fit for people who need them. This is something volunteers say is so needed in what are crude medical conditions.

"The thing that makes this situation unique is that Haiti, being a third world country, it's very, very difficult to survive in Haiti, especially as an amputee," explained Joe Sansone with Limbs of Love. "So these amputees need so much more help in Haiti than they would here. Because of the situation in Haiti we really want to be able to offer those patients a second lease on life."

Limbs of Love is already preparing for the trip, but the issue is when they'll be able to arrive and do the most good for the greatest number of people. Right now so many of the injuries are too fresh to be properly fitted for prosthetics, and the potential for infection remains too high. The group wants to help the most people they can, so that might mean delaying their trip until spring.