Friday, August 25, 2006

Shark bite survivor Achmat to get hi-tech leg

Melanie Peters August 19 2006 at 12:10PM
Shark attack survivor Achmat Hassiem could be walking in six weeks after accepting an offer for a free prosthesis and rehabilitation for a year.Orthotics and prosthetics company Progressive Ortho-paedics, based at Vincent Pallotti hospital in Pinelands, Cape Town, has teamed up with Medactive, a national supplier of orthotic and prosthetic components, to offer Achmat a hi-tech artificial limb. They have also arranged sponsorship for physiotherapy and biokinetic rehabilitation at Vincent Pallotti. The estimated cost of the limb and the sponsorship is around R60 000.Hassiem said it was a wonderful gesture. "I have received so much support and help. There are so many kind people out there."
'He's a very positive guy and is happy...'He said he was looking forward to recovering so he could get back to lifesaving.With other members of the False Bay Life Saving Association, Hassiem was taking part in an exercise at Sunrise Beach near Muizenberg last Sunday when he was attacked by a shark, thought to be a Great White, which bit his right foot off. He was rapidly pulled aboard the association's rubberduck which was about 20m away, and taken ashore to be stabilised before being flown to Constantiaberg.Jayson Chin, owner of Progressive Orthopaedics, said the two companies had heard the Hassiem family did not have medical aid cover for prosthetics and decided to come to his assistance."Achmat is a lifesaver who at times puts his life on the line to save others, and his incredible courage in the wake of the attack prompted us to make this offer. We hope to be able to play a part in helping Achmat live a normal, active life again as soon as possible."We'll supply Achmat with his initial prosthesis and look after him for the next year in terms of all his prosthetic needs. We'll have our whole team look after him and arrange for his rehabilitation by a physiotherapist and biokinetist. "He's a very positive guy and is happy to be able to get up and out of bed. His parents are also thrilled and his mum says he's already talking about taking part in upcoming lifesaving activities," said Chin.
This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Argus on August 19, 2006

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