Monday, November 12, 2007

Brooklyn BP honors Islander's firm


Dongan Hills resident is one of 16 employers honored as role models in the business community
Sunday, November 11, 2007

ADVANCE STAFF WRITER

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- For its history of employing individuals with disabilities, Arimed, a Brooklyn-based orthotics and prosthetics firm owned by a Staten Island resident, was honored recently by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and his advisory committee on Disability Issues.

Arimed was nominated by Elaine Winslow, coordinator of Career Directions and Transitional Services at Long Island University, after she placed a senior majoring in marketing in a paid internship, which has evolved into a part-time job in the firm's marketing and promotion department.


"Arimed welcomed me with open arms," said Kareem Maxwell, the student who transferred to Long Island University from a college in South Carolina after he contracted bacterial meningitis in 2002 and underwent several amputations. "This was my first step into the working world since this happened to me. It's been a good experience."


Steven Mirones, of Dongan Hills, president of Arimed, praised Maxwell and the contribution he's made to the firm. "He's really quite amazing," Mirones said. "He's so even-tempered and centered and he doesn't carry himself with any sense of disability. He's enthusiastic and a great addition to the staff."


Ms. Winslow said when she toured Arimed, she observed that several individuals with disabilities were working for the firm. According to Tim Evans, Arimed's chief operating officer, "All employees are treated with respect and appreciation for the work they perform."


The 16 innovative employers honored at the Oct. 11th awards breakfast at Brooklyn Borough Hall are role models in the business community, said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Businesses that employ individuals with disabilities are doing the right thing, he said, but also making a wise business investment because when the labor pool shrinks after millions of baby boomers begin retiring in the next few years there will be an even greater demand for trained workers.


Arimed's award is the second in two years that the firm has received from the Brooklyn Borough President and his Advisory Committee on Disability Issues. In 2005, Arimed received a Business Advocacy Award for its generosity in donating prostheses to victims of violence, accidents, and war.


Under the leadership of Mirones, Arimed donated C-Legs, which are computerized prosthetics, to Paul Esposito, who lost his legs in the Oct. 15, 2003, Staten Island Ferry crash; donated prosthetic legs to Edgar Rivera, whose legs were severed after being shoved in front of an uptown No. 6 train in 1999; donated artificial limbs to victims mutilated in the civil war in Sierra Leone, Africa; and provided both prosthetic and orthotics services to destitute children in Ahmedebad, India.


Founded in 1949, Arimed features American Board Certified orthotists and prosthetists, professional orthopedic fitters and technicians, and an on-site laboratory and technical staff, and has offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.


More information about the firm is available at www.arimed.com.

Area Marine vet gets leg up in life at Napa Valley Prosthetics and Orthotics

By JENNIFER HUFFMANRegister Business Writer
Sunday, November 11, 2007


While Russell Stanley’s prosthetic leg represents freedom and mobility for the 74-year-old Korean War veteran, it’s also a handy spot to tape extra keys to his house and car. That way, “They’re always with me,” said Stanley with a laugh.



Stanley lost his lower right leg in Korea in 1952 while serving in the Marine infantry. Wounded by mortar shrapnel, there was no choice but to amputate his limb, he said.




Losing a leg hasn’t held Stanley back in life. “I manufactured steel for 36 years, bowled three nights a week, managed a Babe Ruth baseball team and played tennis for 25 years,” he said.



But after a recent hip replacement, Stanley’s leg no longer fits correctly into the socket of his prosthetic. He’s without his limb, temporarily, while Kyle Eckhart of Napa Valley Prosthetics and Orthotics create a newer, lighter version of the artificial limb.



Eckhart, along with business partner Michael Bright, both certified prosthetist orthotists, recently opened their business on Beard Road and another office in Fairfield.



The company provides both prosthetics to replace a missing body part, like a leg or arm, and orthotics, or braces to support or correct a body part.



Anyone suffering from diabetes, a stroke or other injury may need an orthotic, Eckhart said. People with multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy may require braces to help them move, decrease pain or improve stability.



A diabetic often looses sensation in their feet, needing specially fit shoes, or sometimes amputation, which would require a prosthetic. Seventy percent of all amputations are diabetes or vascular related, said Eckhart. Car accidents and war victims make up only 30 percent of prosthetic users.



While most newer veterans needing prosthetics or orthotics are treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., the business does work with some older veterans from World War II, Vietnam and Korea, like Stanley.



On a recent morning, Stanley’s prosthetic limb wearing a gray sock and size 13 black shoe stood on a workbench in the Beard Road office lab. Scuffed and worn, the leg also displayed a Marine Corps sticker on the faux calf.



Prosthetic technology has come a long way since Stanley got his first artificial limb, one of eight he’s had during his 55 years as an amputee. The vet’s first limb “was horrible,” he said.



“It was crude compared to now. I could hardly walk in it. They’ve come a long way.” Even though he’s getting a replacement, Stanley’s not asking for anything too fancy. “I don’t want to get one of those with springs. I just want to walk.”



Using plaster of paris, Eckhart and Bright first make a mold of Stanley’s existing limb. Then, using an industrial oven to heat a sheet of plastic, a test socket of the prosthesis will be formed using a vacuum. After a check for pressure points and fit, Eckhart will then make the finished leg with carbon fiber woven fabric coated with epoxy resin resulting in a strong and lightweight prosthesis.



Not only will his new leg will fit Stanley better, it should also weigh about half a much as the current leg, which Stanley estimated at 25 lbs.



Old-fashioned peg legs are definitely a thing of the past when it comes to making prosthetics. Today, even the heavier plastics of five and 10 years ago are being replaced with carbon fibers and acrylic resins, titanium and aluminum, along with built-in microprocessors that tell a joint when to flex, lock in place and how quickly to move.



Getting a prosthetic to fit correctly is a challenge, said Eckhart.

“It’s almost like getting the front end alignment of a car correct, you have to get the alignment (of a prosthesis) right.”

Napa Valley Prosthetics and Orthotics also sells orthopedic supplies for ankles, neck, knees, hips, feet and shoes for diabetics besides pregnancy support bands. An industrial sewing machine allows the two to customize any orthotic for the right fit.

This is the first small business enterprise for both Eckhart and Bright. The two met while working for another prosthetic and orthotic company in Napa County. Opening an office in Napa was important to them. “We want to be part of the local community,” said Eckhart.

Eckhart, 39, who previously managed a retirement home, said he made his career change because he wanted, “to work with people and my hands again. Everything we do in this business is custom made. We are always working with new people. They become friends. Especially the amputees. You work with them for a long time — it’s like going to the same hairdresser — except we’re the leg guys.”

Stanley, who lives in Benicia, said he chose Napa Valley Prosthetics and Orthotics to make his new limb because, “I liked the way Kyle conducted himself,” said Stanley. “I liked his education and things he presented — new legs, new ideas, new methods. He’s been great in answering a lot of questions.”

He’s ready to get his leg back. “It’s always a good conversation piece,” Stanley said. And besides, “I’m anxious to get walking again.”

Will Stanley put the Marine Corps sticker back on his new leg?“If there’s a spot I’ll put it on.”

Friday, November 09, 2007

Amputees push for better private care

Visit CNNMoney.com

USA... is the 800-pound gorilla in the industry that designs, builds and fits custom-made prosthetics and orthotics, which are braces of some kind. ...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Life and limb



Loss of limb forges former missionary's career as prosthetist
Home News Tribune Online 10/23/07
By CONNIE MIDEYGANNETT NEWS SERVICE
He was in the last month of a two-year church mission in Mexico seven years ago, when, while on foot, he was struck by a car and carried about 300 feet.

The driver who hit him swerved hard to fling Tyler Ritchey from the hood of the car and kept going, leaving Ritchey with broken bones and injuries to his stomach, lungs, shoulders and knees.

"My leg was the least of my problems," says Ritchey, who now works as a liaison for amputees.
His parents were beside him when he emerged from a coma after several days on life support. But there was no one at his bedside in Mexico who had been through a similar experience and was equipped to reassure and educate him about life without a leg.

"It was a shock to wake up and find that my left leg below the knee was gone," he says. "It didn't look good for me to be this active person anymore, the one who played basketball and was always busy."

Today, Ritchey's job as a health-care professional for Pongratz Orthotics & Prosthetics in Phoenix is to help others, like Kirsten Witbeck of Tempe, Ariz., adjust to a legless life.
Upon closer inspection of Witbeck's new right leg he says, "that's amazing. It looks just like your other leg. How are you doing with it?"

Witbeck, 26, has been fitted with several artificial legs since being diagnosed with bone cancer and getting an above-the-knee amputation at age 12. This one, with a rechargeable-microprocessor knee and a button for rotating the leg, is a technological marvel.

Phoenix vascular surgeon Jeromy Brink says people who undergo an amputation — about 135,000 are performed each year in the United States — face not just the obvious physical challenges, but emotional ones as well.

"Learning to use a new prosthesis is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical," he says. "It's (dealing with) the loss of an entire part of their lives and getting accustomed to the way things are now."

For patients who lose a limb because of an accident, the emotional loss may be worse than for those with a chronic illness that eventually makes amputation necessary, he says.

"A lot of patients I deal with are long-standing diabetics who have known the score for many years and are facing amputation as a last resort," Brink says.Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, accidents and cancer are responsible for most amputations.

Ritchey had unstinting support from family, friends and the medical community. For him, adjusting psychologically to the loss of a leg turned out to be easier than adjusting to the demands of therapy and recovery. Back home a month after the accident, he came face to face with an unfamiliar frailty. There were daily rehab sessions for a year, 27 surgeries, mending bones, and metal rods and steel plates placed throughout his body.

Still, says Ritchey, 27, "the toughest day I ever had was the first day I was fitted with a prosthetic leg. I thought I'd get the leg and walk out of here, but it required a lot more work."
Even with the lightweight leg he uses on most occasions, walking expends more energy than it did when the legs he was born with propelled him.

Ritchey was fitted with his first artificial leg by the man who later hired him, company owner Joe Pongratz. Pongratz began calling on Ritchey, who is fluent in Spanish and English, to talk with patients, and he created a paid position for him as amputee liaison when the calls became increasingly frequent.

He and Pongratz organized a support group, Limbs 2 Life, to give new and longer-term amputees further opportunities to share stories.

Ritchey, married now and the father of two, need not have worried about remaining active. Since the accident, he has earned a bachelor's degree in marketing and made his first parachute jump, his artificial leg proving up to the challenge of absorbing the landing's impact.

Protect your limbs

  • Practice proper foot hygiene and care, particularly if you are diabetic.

  • Quit smoking, or don't start.

  • Be careful, especially when operating machinery like lawn mowers, wood chippers, etc.

Source: The National Limb Loss Information Center.

On the Web:

Resources for amputees:

www.amputee-coalition.org, Amputee Coalition of America provides education, support, and advocacy for amputees.

www.oandp.org, American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists.

www.kidscanplay2.com, Pediatric Prosthetics, Inc., provides information on prosthetic limbs for children.

Spiritual Friendship


An Answer to Prayer
We returned to U of M for an initial fitting of Karim's castings for his prosthetic hands. Again, I wish to compliment Alicia Davis, a key member of the orthotics and prosthetics department. She is definitely a woman who loves her job and has a great way with patients and their guardians. I felt as if I've been a friend of hers for years. She is wonderful! Anyway, the fitting went well and with pictures and hand signals we were able to explain to Karim what we were doing. He is very excited about getting prosthetics. At this time we were still uncertain of where the money would come from to pay for the prosthetics. They are very costly. However, over the weekend I received an e-mail from Alicia, stating that the U of M Charity had agreed to bear the entire cost of the prosthetics. All week I had been praying, "God, if you want Karim to have these prosthetics, you will have to come up with the money." Boy, did He answer this prayer! And in such a timely manner, too. I am extremely thankful to my Lord and King for providing this money so that Karim can have a better life now that his hands will be more useful. We will return this Thursday for another fitting. It is amazing to see all the medical personnel who have come to bat for Karim, not only in Muskegon, but, now in Ann Arbor as well. The above picture is an example of a similar prosthetic. Karim's will be made of a clear plastic material and have plenty of breathing room, as his hands are often burning and itching. He will be able to have some fine motor skills with the pinchers that are attached to the plastic casting. They will rotate, and open and close using a cable attached to a harness-like strap on his shoulders. I will post updated pictures after Thursday's visit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Adjustment to prosthesis hard

Whether lost to a trauma or disease, adjusting to a new limb is a tough task.Connie Midey The Arizona Republic He was in the last month of a two-year church mission in Mexico seven years ago, when, while on foot, he was struck by a car and carried about 300 feet.
The driver who hit him swerved hard to fling Tyler Ritchey from the hood of the car and kept going, leaving Ritchey with broken bones and injuries to his stomach, lungs, shoulders and knees.
"My leg was the least of my problems," says Ritchey, who now works as a liaison for amputees.
His parents were beside him when he emerged from a coma after several days on life support. But there was no one at his bedside in Mexico who had been through a similar experience and was equipped to reassure and educate him about life without a leg.

"It was a shock to wake up and find that my left leg below the knee was gone," he says. "It didn't look good for me to be this active person anymore, the one who played basketball and was always busy."

Today, Ritchey's job as a health care professional for Pongratz Orthotics & Prosthetics in Phoenix is to help others, like Kirsten Witbeck of Tempe, Ariz., adjust to a legless life.
Upon closer inspection of Witbeck's new right leg, he says, "that's amazing. It looks just like your other leg. How are you doing with it?"

Witbeck, 26, has been fitted with several artificial legs since being diagnosed with bone cancer and getting an above-the-knee amputation at age 12. This one, with a rechargeable-microprocessor knee and a button for rotating the leg, is a technological marvel.

Phoenix vascular surgeon Jeromy Brink says people who undergo an amputation --about 135,000 are performed each year in the United States — face not just the obvious physical challenges, but emotional ones as well.

"Learning to use a new prosthesis is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical," he says. "It's (dealing with) the loss of an entire part of their lives and getting accustomed to the way things are now."

For patients who lose a limb because of an accident, the emotional loss may be worse than for those with a chronic illness that eventually makes amputation necessary, he says.
"A lot of patients I deal with are long-standing diabetics who have known the score for many years and are facing amputation as a last resort," Brink says.

Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, accidents and cancer are responsible for most amputations.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oregon Health Law News

This blog is dedicated to providing updates on the latest laws and regulations impacting health care in Oregon.

The 2007 Oregon legislature passed a law requiring individual and group insurance policies to cover prosthetic and orthotic devices medically necessary to maintain the ability to complete activities of daily living or essential job-relatedactivities and that are not solely for comfort or convenience.The Oregon Insurance Division recently published a proposed rule that would require those policies to cover the same devices in the Medicare fee schedule. The public may comment on the rule until November 6, 2007.

Orthopaedic rehab centres upgraded

(13-10-2007)

HA NOI — Viet Nam will upgrade its orthopaedic rehabilitation centres, particularly the Vietnamese Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (Vietcot), to meet international standards and supply qualified technologists to the country and the world, according to Dam Huu Dac, deputy minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Vietcot’s 10th anniversary in the capital yesterday, Dac also stressed that Viet Nam, home to over 5.3 million people with disabilities, faces an immense problem in rehabilitating its disabled people. A survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that 0.5 per cent of the population of the about 415,000 individuals are in need of technical health care.

Also present at the event, rector of the University of Labour and Social Affairs Professor Dr Nguyen Tiep said Vietcot, set up 10 years ago under a German funded technical co-operation project, aimed to offer professional training and education based on the standards of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) and the WHO.

"Its project objective is to train students and upgrade qualified orthopaedists for work in Orthopaedic Rehabilitation centres," he said.

Tiep also applauded GTZ/Vietcot advisor Wilfried Raab for his assistance and contributions to the centre in the last decade, adding Vietcot was to receive further support from the German Government and Raab himself.

Deputy director of the centre, Dang Xuan Khang, said Vietcot had trained 141 orthopaedic technicians reaching ISPO and WHO Category II, and 45 others on biomechanics, technical drawing and drafting, and physical science.

He said the centre had also been successfully co-operating with and training international technologists from Tanzania, China, Cambodia and Pakistan.

"Vietcot has also been active in consultancy on improving the orthopaedic care system in Viet Nam; conducting clinics introducing new technologies to improve rehabilitation services for patients and providing advice on effective cost calculation to enable the economic management of an orthopaedic laboratory," Khang said.

At the International Rehabilitation Conference in Hong Kong in 2004, Vietcot was lauded as one of three training centres in the world to produce the most qualified orthopaedic technicians. — VNS

Friday, October 12, 2007

102 year old Tribe fan refuses to slow down

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland woman gets prosthetic leg and refuses to miss Indians game.

The oldest Tribe fan in the world lives in South Euclid, Ohio. Annie Barrow, just turned 102 years young.

Poor circulation forced doctors to amputate her right leg. But Annie refuses to slow down.

At the Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinic Monday she told the staff, "I refuse to complain because I hear people all the time making complaints and I don't know how it does any good".

Prosthetic expert Kevin Carroll and Matthew Manolio helped Annie with the fitting for her new artificial limb.

As Annie took her new leg for a test walk down the hallway, she smiled and said, "Yes, it's lighter than the one I had. This is good!"

Standing nearby, Matthew Manolio said, "she inspires the office staff and Annie inspires me. Just working with somebody who has been around as much as she has and seen as much as she has. She always has a story to tell you."

Born in 1905, Annie moved from a farm in Jackson Gap, Alabama to Cleveland when she was eighteen years old. Over the years she raised 11 foster children.

At her home in South Euclid you won't find any wheelchair ramps. She walks slowly up every step.Annie believes it keeps her young.

"They say using the steps is good exercise", she told Channel 3's Mike O'Mara, "so I take the stairs about four times a day." You can understand why the staff at the Hanger Prosthetics clinic celebrates her annual visit.

She's just that special.Said Hanger Vice President, Kevin Carroll, "Annie has been a great inspiration to me and also to other patients. I tell everybody all over the country about her all the time.Added Carroll, "if somebody is complaining that they are feeling old at 60, I make sure they hear about Annie's story. I tell them you're only a kid compared to her.

"Annie attended her first Cleveland Indians game at League Park back in 1925 and remains a devoted fan. Said Annie, "I used to go see the Indians every time they were playing at home in Cleveland.

I was there to cheer them on, even if I had to borrow the money to attend the game!"When asked about the playoffs with the New York Yankees, Annie paused and said quietly, "you know if they had won last night I would have been very happy. But they can always do it tonight.

"Annie added, "I'm 102 years old and there are times in these playoff games that are just too much for my heart to take. I have to turn off the TV and say a prayer."
Video

Play Video for Mike O'Mara's story

Click here for more video clips

Annie Barrow, 102, on 4th artificial leg, is a real inspiration to us all'

Prosthesis patient, 102, a real inspiration to us all'

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mary VanacPlain Dealer Reporter

After 102 years of walking, Annie Barrow isn't ready to sit down, even if she is on her fourth leg.
At age 98, Barrow lost part of her right leg and was fitted with an artificial one.
Four years later, Barrow is still on the go. On Monday, she was fitted with a new, lighter prosthesis.

Visit this link to read her whole story!

Cuban-Americans Help Ukrainian Children


By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ – 3 days ago

MIAMI (AP) — Sometimes large-scale international diplomacy is about small-scale gestures.

On Monday, it was nine Ukrainian children playing with dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium while waiting to be fitted with free prosthetic limbs. Their visit and treatment are courtesy of Ukrainian first lady Kateryna Yushchenko, members of South Florida's Cuban-American community and others.

The nonprofit Cuba Democracy Advocates wants to build solidarity with Ukraine's fledgling democratic government by helping to pay for prosthetics for about 30 low-income children from the former communist nation and by increasing medical exchanges.

Many Cuban-Americans see Ukraine as a model for peaceful political change and want to support its government and recent criticism of political repression on the communist island.
U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., has worked with the State Department to send doctors to Ukraine and most recently to bring the children to Florida.

"The countries that most understand the Cuban people — besides the U.S. — are the countries of Central and Eastern Europe," said Diaz-Balart, who is Cuban-American. "When I go there, I feel so well. The people there get it."

The Cuban-American community and the U.S. government are keenly aware of the decades of medical treatment that Cuba provided for Ukrainians before pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko became president two years ago. Cuba treated thousands of Ukrainian children after the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

Since 2005, much of that aid has dried up, and relations between the two countries have cooled.
"The U.S. was concerned that Cuba would cut out medical support for the Ukraine, and there was a push to say, `If you take a stronger stance on Cuba, there are still ways to get that support,'" said Carlos Pascual, vice president and head of foreign policy for the Brookings Institution in Washington. Pascual served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2000 to 2003 and is also Cuban-American.

He called the treatment for the children a good gesture but symbolic, considering Ukraine has a population of about 47 million people.

Yushchenko won his country's 2004 election after more than a million Ukrainians took to the streets to protest voter fraud in favor of the Russian-backed presidential candidate. Not surprisingly, he has been critical of Cuba's repression of political dissidents.

Politics were far from the minds of the Ukrainian children who arrived last week. They looked alternately thrilled and terrified as the dolphins leapt out of the water for kisses and high-fives.
When asked what he knew about Cuba or Cuban-Americans before he came to the U.S., Paul Satsuk, 17, of Polonne, Ukraine, grinned.

He mimed smoking a cigar and drinking coffee.

Satsuk couldn't explain why Cuban-Americans would feel a special connection with his country.
"These are very good people, with big hearts," said Satsuk, who lost half his right arm in an industrial accident when he was 6.

Vladimir Hynedka, 49, accompanied his young son Stepha on the trip. He asked his Cuban-American host family if they were Christians because he couldn't think of another reason why they would try so hard to help his son.

The connection between Ukrainians and Cuban-Americans is understandable, said Taras Tkachuk, 30, a Ukrainian doctor who works with Kateryna Yushchenko's charity, Ukraine 3000 Fund, which helped sponsor the group along with Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics in Orlando.
"It's difficult to have a democracy after totalitarianism. Our parents were born under that system. But these kids, they look forward. They feel life in a different way. They are able to use choices," Tkachuk said. "The same will one day be in Cuba."


Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

For amputee, a big step


Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 10/10/07

BY SHANNON MULLENSTAFF WRITER

In almost all respects, Brian Hansen thinks he's got great health insurance.

He's got a $15 co-pay for doctor's visits and medications. He's got 100 percent coverage for hospital visits.

He had no complaints, really — that is, until he needed a prosthetic leg and learned the maximum lifetime allowance was $1,000, with a $200 co-pay.

A thousand dollars? A basic prosthesis costs 10 times that much. You can't buy a wooden peg for $1,000 today.

Hansen, 50, of Keyport, a diabetic since childhood, lost his job as a hazardous materials training technician after he tore off a toenail and developed a dangerous infection that led to the amputation of his toe. Subsequent amputations of his other toes, half his foot and finally his left leg, above his knee, had wiped out his life savings and driven him into debt. He and his wife, Fran, didn't know how they'd come up with $10,000, even if that was his only shot at ever walking again.

But Tuesday he did walk. Just a few, tentative steps — but after all he's been through, it felt like reaching the surface of a very deep, dark sea after a long time underwater, and seeing the sun again.

"It's amazing," an ecstatic Hansen said afterward. "It felt great to be standing and to put weight on my two legs again. I haven't done that in two years."

At Hansen's side was Robert Manfredi Sr., look-ing equally pleased. It was Manfredi's charity, Angels with Limbs, that made the moment possible.

Manfredi, 70, of Rumson, is the co-founder of Manfredi Orthotic & Prosthetic, a company that's been a fixture in downtown Long Branch for the past 50 years. Three years ago, in an ironic twist, Manfredi himself wound up needing a prosthetic leg after a diabetic-related amputation; he says he's one of only 10 people in the world right now with a computerized ankle joint.

Manfredi retired at the time, handing the business over to his son, Robert Manfredi Jr. Eager to remain active, the elder Manfredi founded Angels with Limbs, a nonprofit organization that uses parts of donated prostheses to fabricate new limbs for New Jersey residents who are underinsured or don't have health insurance.

The charity helps about a dozen people per year. Among its recent projects was fitting an Ocean County man with a state-of-the-art, $50,000 computerized prosthetic knee that the previous owner had bequeathed to the charity. The man has returned to work and participated this summer in the Manfredi company's annual tennis clinic for its prosthesis-wearing clients.
Campaign for fairness

The Hansens' insurance problems aren't unusual, according to the Amputee Coalition of America.

The advocacy organization says coverage for limb loss varies widely among insurance companies, which sometimes evaluate coverage on a case-by-case basis. For example, the ACA found at least eight different companies in New York that are restricting or eliminating coverage for prosthetics. The restrictions vary from financial caps of $1,000 or $2,500 to excluding repairs or even limiting a person's benefit to one prosthesis per lifetime.

The organization is leading a national campaign in support of state legislation that would bar such practices and create parity among insurance providers. Seven states have adopted such laws, and bills are pending in another 24 states, including New Jersey.

In the meantime, Angels with Limbs has provided the Hansens with a lifeline they desperately needed.

Brian Hansen's toenail injury in 2005 sent them on a two-year downward spiral. Despite the amputations of his toes and foot, and heavy doses of OxyContin, Hansen was in excruciating pain because of recurrent infections and circulatory problems.

"All I did was sleep, wake up in pain, sleep, wake up in pain. It was no way to live," Hansen said. "I sat there at night screaming, I was in so much pain. . . . It was rough on my daughter (Isabella), a 12-year-old, seeing all that."
prognosis was bleak: Hansen was told he'd need to keep having amputations to deal with the problem. When he asked if there were any alternatives, one doctor presented him with four options. Hansen chose the only one guaranteed to end his pain: pre-emptive amputation of his leg above the knee. He had the surgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, on July 17.

"They gave me my life back the day they amputated my leg," Hansen said.

Next step: rehab

Hansen said he erred in not checking his coverage for a prosthesis before he had the amputation. After his wife found out about the $1,000 maximum, she called around and discovered the prosthesis her husband needed would cost between $10,000 and $12,000. Her last call was to Manfredi Orthotic & Prosthetic. At the other end of the line, Jean Manfredi, who is Robert Jr.'s wife and an employee of the company, assured Fran that the company and her father-in-law's charity would do whatever they could to help.

On Tuesday, they made good on that promise, fitting Hansen with a moderately sophisticated prosthesis with a titanium pylon and a socket that will allow him to pivot on his foot, once he learns how.

"It's just been a nightmare, and now we're finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel," Fran Hansen said after watching her husband take his first steps. "Thank God for Angels with Limbs."

Hansen's HMO will pay for a week's stay at Riverview Medical Center's rehabilitation hospital in Red Bank so he can learn how to use the very prosthesis that the company wouldn't cover in the first place. Hansen is too grateful right now to dwell on the irony of that.

"It's like a whole new beginning for me," said Hansen, who is hoping to return to work, eventually. "I'm looking forward to walking out of the hospital."

Shannon Mullen: (732) 643-4278 or shannon@app.com

Monday, October 08, 2007

Welcome to The Cambodia Trust Blog

Stay up to date with the news from our projects.

Sometimes Saying Goodbye To Someone Dosn’t Always Mean Goodbye

Cambodia trust


Working for equal rights for disabled people in an inclusive barrier-free society
Cambodia Trust is committed to assisting people with disabilities re-gain mobility and live equally within society. Our help extends to people affected by polio, landmine/unexploded ordnance, cerebral palsy and clubfoot. We opened our first rehabilitation centre in 1992 and now have three centers operating in Sihanoukville, Kampong Chhnang and Phnom Penh. In each of the centers, we provide physiotherapy, prosthetic limbs and orthopedic braces, and wheelchairs and other assistive devices.

Our activities include an extensive community-based rehabilitation program, which identifies people with disabilities who would benefit from our services. We support disabled children from poor families to attend school and provide schoolbooks, uniforms and bicycles. Further support includes assisting people into small business and establishing self-help groups so people have the opportunity to exchange ideas and advocate for themselves, and working with other partners including the government.

We also run an education centre - the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO) - where people learn to make and fit prosthetic limbs and orthopedic braces. The aim of the School is to create a foundation of physical rehabilitation services by producing specialists with skills and knowledge to support people with disabilities. The training program takes three years and students come to Cambodia from many different countries.\

~ by feelcool on October 7, 2007.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lending a Hand

Harlingen doctor helps creates prosthetic arm for 7-year-old boy
By DAISY MARTINEZ—Valley Morning Star
September 23, 2007 - 10:37PM
HARLINGEN — Gildardo Guzman is like most other 7-year-old boys: he likes to swim, play video games and play with his older brother Carlos.
If it weren’t for the physical aspect, no one would ever be able to tell that he battled osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, just a year ago.
Gildardo won the battle against cancer, but in the process lost his left arm and shoulder. Doctors re-moved the limb and joint because they feared that the cancer would spread.
But Gildardo’s bubbly personality and big, bright smile divert attention from the left side of his body.
“I used to feel bad because my arm hurt all the time, but not anymore,” Gildardo said in Spanish. “I feel better now, because I don’t have pain anymore.”
Gildardo’s mother, Nancy Guzman, said that learning that her son had cancer was absolutely devastat-ing.
“But the strongest one through all of this has been Gildardo,” Nancy Guzman said in Spanish. “When he came out of surgery, when they had just removed his arm, he told me not to cry. He said that if he wasn’t crying, why should I be crying.”
Now that it has been more than a year since Gildardo’s arm was removed, he has hope of having an arm again.
The Guzman family lives in McAllen and said they searched the Rio Grande Valley for the best possi-ble prosthetic arm, the cost of which will be paid by Medicaid.
That’s how they ended up in Doug Wacker’s office.
Wacker, certified prosthetist/orthotist and Texas-licensed prosthetist/orthotist, owns Nutech Orthotics & Prosthetics in Harlingen. He said that in more than 27 years of practice in Houston at the Texas Medi-cal Center, he’s never seen a case like Gildardo’s.
Wacker has been working to create a “passive arm” for Gildardo, which will serve cosmetic purposes.
But the work hasn’t been easy, Wacker said.
“No other 7-year-old has ever had one,” Wacker said about Gildardo’s prosthetic.
Wacker said he’s called all over the nation, Canada and even Germany looking for the parts needed to make a prosthetic arm to fit Gildardo.
Liberating Technologies, Inc. of Holliston, Mass., custom-made the parts that Wacker needed to make the prosthetic for Gildardo. The prosthetic arm weighs about 4 pounds and is something to which Gildardo must become accus-tomed, Wacker said.
“(The prosthetic arm) will be difficult getting used to because his center of gravity has changed,” Wacker said. “We’ll see how he does with this. I’m hoping that in the future he’ll be able to get a myoelec-tric prosthesis (with which) he’ll be able to control his elbow and hand through nerve impulses.”
Wacker expects that Gildardo will use this prosthetic arm for about a year before exploring the possi-bilities of a more sophisticated one.
“This is a great feeling,” Wacker said about helping Gildardo. “This is what lets you sleep at night.”












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Thursday, September 20, 2007

RUNNING AMPUTEES!


Visit You Tube for pages and pages of Running Amputees!
A GREAT INSPIRATION to all!

Setting his own pace

Sacramentan Jon Bik heads to Germany to compete in Triathlon World Championships -- 2 1/2 years after losing a leg
By M.S. Enkoji - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

He was on top of the world, a new job just within his grasp, when something gave way, plunging him toward what could have been a life of self-pity and bitterness.

Or not.

After Jon Bik lost most of his right leg in a work accident, he got up from his hospital bed, determined to rebound, first by golfing, then by running and finally, training for triathlons.

"I think it was the threat of not being able to do it that made me do it," said Bik, 33.

Just 2 1/2 years after losing his leg, Bik is bound for Hamburg, Germany, today to compete in the Triathlon World Championships.

Some seek solace in therapy, but Bik has channeled any darkness that came his way into training and concentrating on what milestone was next.

"It's definitely helped to take my mind off things," he said.

Bik spent Tuesday showing off the high-technology prosthetic legs that will help him through nearly a one-mile swim, 24.8 mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run.

He is shooting for a three-hour finish or less in Hamburg. He qualified for the world event at a New York City triathlon in July, coming in at three hours and 17 minutes. At least 8,000 athletes from around the world will compete in Hamburg. Bik will square off against others who also use prosthetic legs.

Because of the expense, Bik will travel without the relatives, friends and co-workers who have rallied for his comeback.

"He makes my simple life problems seem very little if you look at his accomplishments," said Ken Habel, who works with Bik at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Habel has helped raise money to defray Bik's racing costs. It will cost Bik $600 just to bag and ship his bike to Germany.

Habel and Bik have been working together for a few years, training as meter technicians for the utility district.

Bik initially wanted to be a lineman, scaling utility poles to do repairs. He went to "pole school" at the utility district during a vacation break from a former job. The physically grueling school typically weeds out most candidates, he said. But not him.

"I just finished the final test," he said, recalling the day he was injured in January 2005.

A spike on his boot caught wrong on a wooden pole as he shimmied down it. He dropped 40 feet, landing with a leg somehow skewed upward in front of him.

For three days, doctors worked to save his leg, which was attached mostly by skin, Bik said. He lost the leg above the knee.

Before the accident, the father of 6- and 2-year-old girls, owned a bike and had run in a few fun runs.

"I wasn't lying in bed thinking of triathlons," he said.

But he was thinking of getting his life back. Golfing would be his bridge to running again, he figured. After he started running, Bik took up biking and swimming as a way to rest from running.

Getting fitted for prosthetics was a process of trial and error. Blisters and another surgery, plagued him.

"No matter what," Habel said, "he always remained positive. He didn't let the setbacks get to him regardless of how it impacted him. He always pushed forward."

The prosthetics Bik will take to Germany -- made by Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics -- each are designed for a particular activity and imbedded with microprocessors that control flexibility and stability.

Joining other runners Tuesday at McKinley Park in east Sacramento, Bik ran a few rounds himself.

After he retires from marathoning and triathaloning, he says, he'd like to work in some way to help others deal with physical disabilities.

About the writer:
The Bee's M.S. Enkoji can be reached at (916) 321-1106 or menkoji@sacbee.com.

CAPO - Canadian Association for Prosthetics and Orthotics

The Canadian Association for Prothetics and Orthotics (CAPO) is a non-profit, volunteer organization representing more than 350 profession's in the fields of prosthetics and orthotics across Canada.

'Hall' of an inspiration

Sunday, September 02, 2007

He lost a leg in the Real IRA Omagh bomb but superactive Ali Hall leads an inspirational life. Pauline Reynolds reports

He's completed a gruelling triathlon in three hours 45 minutes and has a burning ambition to climb Ben Nevis.

He loves to keep active and counts hill walking, cycling and tennis among his hobbies.

Nothing is too great a challenge for Ali Hall - despite having lost part of his right leg in the Omagh bomb.

And he's just returned from a two-week trip to Vietnam to witness for himself how less privileged amputees cope.

Life is good for the 21-year-old university student who has decided to use his disability to his advantage.

He plans to pursue a career in prosthetics and orthotics, having been encouraged by the revolutionary work at Belfast's Musgrave Park hospital centre of excellence.

It was there Ali began his road to rehabilitation.

"When I was younger and getting my limbs fitted, I was always asking questions and became really interested in what was going on," he recalled.

"Then, in lower sixth, I was able to do my work experience in Musgrave Park and got to see the kind of things that went on behind the scenes.

"It was fascinating and I probably wouldn't have chosen this career path if it hadn't been for my injury."

As part of his course at Strathclyde University, he and a group of fellow students visited Vietnam in July.

The war between 1959 and 1975 is believed to have left around 20pc of the population as amputee casualties.

Ali found the experience educational and humbling.

"We visited schools and clinics where a lot of children were born without limbs and with other deformities," he explained.

"Chemicals used during the war have meant that generations of Vietnamese suffer from genetic abnormalities.

"There were landmine victims and also people who had lost limbs through road traffic accidents.

"I was able to relate to the young people over there, but it's sad to see that they're not really integrated back into society.

"Artificial limbs are so expensive that few can afford them.

"I remember a little lad coming up to me in the street to tell me his uncle, who was only about 30, had both his legs blown off in a landmine.

"He said he had never been fitted with artificial limbs and who knows if he ever will.

"I learned a lot about how much money our health service gives to helping amputees and realised how lucky I was to have the medical expertise we have here.

"I was shocked at what I saw."

The lack of progress in treating children with limb deformities was brought home during a visit to one school.

With the best of intentions, only limited help can be given because of a lack of funding and proper training.

"There were small children with their mothers, who were being taught physiotherapy," he said.

"It was really moving to see so many kiddies, who have to go through so much, being given so little.

"They didn't even cry or complain, although it was a very difficult time for them. Many couldn't walk or get around.

"What a contrast to the amazing progress that has been made here in Northern Ireland."

The trip made a huge impact on Ali.

"Since I've been home I've been thinking more about my experience in Vietnam," he revealed.

"I now feel that when I qualify I'll consider taking my skills to deprived countries which have the greatest need.

"A course - similar to the one I'm studying - has opened up in a school in Hanoi and it's doing a lot of good work.

"There are also outreach programmes for adults and children, but what's really needed is for more qualified people out there."

To help finance the trip Ali and his colleagues embarked on the triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run).

He added: "It was pretty tough going, but you can't let anything hold you back.

"There's always a way of getting around any obstacle.

"I'd love to expand my hill walking. Ben Nevis would be a good one to tackle and I should be able to do that in a few years.

"There's nothing to gain by looking back. I've achieved everything I've ever wanted."

A day of devastation
Ali Hall was one of six victims of the Omagh bomb who lost limbs in the blast.

What had begun as a trip out shopping with mum Gwen ended in a day of carnage and destruction.

The no-warning Real IRA explosion in Market Street on August 15, 1998 killed 31 people including unborn twins and left 370 injured.

Ali and Gwen were just yards from the car bomb when it went off.

On the first anniversary of the bomb, Sunday Life caught up with the then 13-year-old and his parents on a holiday in Castlerock.

Already he had nurtured that positive attitude and optimistic outlook he holds true to this day.

"There's no point worrying. No one can turn back time. You just accept it and get on with your life," said the carefree teenager at the time.

Ali told of how he remembered lying on the ground, feeling debris and rubble piled up on top of him.

"I tried to crawl away and then tried to get up, but I couldn't and I knew something was wrong with my leg," he recalled.

"I called for help and a man carried me into Slevins chemist and then I was carried into an ambulance."

He added: "I was frightened, confused and wasn't sure what had happened. "

Ali didn't realise that his right foot had been severed.

Doctors advised that amputation below the knee would give him the greatest chance to rebuild his future.

This exceptional youngster struggled through many gruelling hours of therapy to get his life back to normal.

Recovery was painful and hard to endure, but Ali rarely complained, even when further surgery was needed after his wound became infected.

One of the most difficult obstacles was to learn to walk again with the help of an artificial limb.

But like everything else he's achieved, Ali embraced the challenge with enthusiasm and steely determination.

Nowadays he lives life to the full.

JPO Online Library



Are you up for a good read about orthotics and prosthetics; then visit The JPO Online Library.

Prosthetics And Orthotics Community

Stop by and visit the Prosthetics And Orthotics Community blog; it is packed with alot of articules on the O&P Industry!

Southern Sudan: Twice a survivor of war


Southern Sudan: Twice a survivor of war
Although the conflict between the southern and the northern regions of Sudan ended in 2005, many of its victims are still striving to rebuild their lives. Mayon Deng, 42, joined the Sudanese army in 1984 and was dismissed in 1996 when he lost his left leg in combat. In November 2006, an attack in Malakal resulted in the amputation of his remaining leg. The ICRC's communication delegate in Juba, Robin Waudo, tells Mayon's story.
To read this story visit: Relief Web
Also for addition stories on this subject visit

Herr wins $250,000 Heinz Award

Professor Hugh Herr, a double amputee whose work has led to the development of new prosthetic innovations that merge body and machine, has won the 13th annual Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment. The award is among the largest individual achievement prizes in the world. Herr, of the Media Lab, was recognized for “breakthrough innovations in prosthetics and orthotics.” He is among six distinguished Americans to receive one of the $250,000 awards presented in five categories by the Heinz Family Foundation.

…At age 17, Herr lost both legs below the knee in a mountain climbing accident, but returned to the classroom after a few years to earn an undergraduate degree in physics, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard. Today, his work at the Media Lab focuses on human amplification and rehabilitation systems - technologies that interact with human limbs, mimicking biological performance and amplifying function. Herr predicts that in 5 to 10 years, leg amputees will be able to run faster and move with a lower metabolic rate than people with biological limbs.

Related: The Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment - 2007 Draper Prize to Berners-Lee - Millennium Technology Prize to Dr. Shuji Nakamura

Read The Full Article: http://engineering.curiouscatblog.net/2007/09/13/herr-wins-250000-heinz-award/

post from Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog on 13 September 2007 09:44:00 AM. © Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog

Athletics: Counting Down To The 30th Anniversary Lasalle Bank Chicago Marathon

30 Inspiring Stories in 30 Days

A lifelong runner, Amy Palmiero-Winters’ life changed after a 1994 motorcycle accident resulted in the loss of her leg below the knee. Amy’s running spirit never failed and she looks to follow-up her 2006 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon performance that set a new female amputee world record with a potential qualifying time for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

WHO: Amy Palmiero-Winters
AGE: 35
OCCUPATION: Welder
HOMETOWN: Meadville, Pennsylvania
MARATHONS: Cleveland, Boston, The LaSalle Bank Chicago, Lake Placid

RUNNER STORY: Amy Palmiero-Winters has the ability to make great athletes appear mediocre. In high school she was an outstanding competitor in swimming and track. She was faced with a major obstacle in 1994 when she was injured in a brutal motorcycle accident. Along with the scrapes and bruises, her left foot was fatally damaged in the ordeal. After three years and 25 surgeries, her physicians concluded that her leg below the knee would need to be amputated. She would struggle to get her life back in order, learning to walk with a prosthetic leg.

Three years passed as Amy learned how to maneuver with her prosthetic leg. It was designed for walking as she was never expected to be able to run well enough to need anything more. A lifelong athlete, Amy was not about to let this road block prevent her from running. In 2005 with her walking prosthetic, a five- month pregnancy, and the odds against her, Amy entered the Silver Strand Marathon in California. She surprisingly finished second in her division. With this enormous accomplishment under her belt, she was motivated to increase the level of physical difficulty and enter a triathlon in New York City. This time she took third place in her division with her walking prosthetic and a bike on loan from her boss.

Her ability to compete in exceptionally challenging races drove her to the next level. If she wanted to improve her success she needed to find better tools. She researched her options and decided that Erik Schaffer offered the best opportunity as president of A Step Ahead Prosthetics & Orthotics in Long Island, N.Y. A Step Ahead is known for working with athletes to develop training and equipment to accompany their wishes to compete in sports. She worked with their physical therapists and prosthetists to prepare for her next race. Securing a prosthetic designed for running was the first step in the right direction.

In 2006, Amy entered The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon with two barely healed, broken toes and a two-day old discharge from the hospital where she had been admitted for anaphylactic shock. She finished in 3:04:16; setting a new world record for a female below-the-knee amputee. Her new personal record shaved 12 minutes off her previous time - certainly a remarkable accomplishment for any athlete, but it becomes an outstanding conquest considering her previous time was set at the Boston Marathon prior to the amputation!

Amy can also add her ability to competitively race against able-bodied opponents to her resume. She has placed 1st overall in two 5K and one 10K races. Her phenomenal performances earned her a nomination for the 2007 ESPY Awards for best female athlete with a disability. This October, Amy will return to The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon with an even loftier goal. She is striving not only to post a new personal best by lowering her finish time below three hours, but to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, a feat many able-bodied athletes only dream of achieving.

WEBSITE: www.seeamyrun.com

RACE INFORMATION: The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Sunday, October 7, 2007 as 45,000 participants advance to the start line, embarking on the culmination of 45,000 personal journeys. Along with the massive field of recreational runners, the 26.2-mile course will welcome a full field of world renowned professional athletes drawn to the flat, fast, urban setting and the potential to break world and national records. The professionals will compete for prize money and points in the World Marathon Majors series which will crown its first male and female champions with $500,000 each at the close of 2007. Since the inception of its charity program in 2002, The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon has generated more than $27.5 million for a variety of charitable causes including $9.5 million in the 2006 event alone. Registration for the race opened on January 1, 2007 and closed when it reached capacity on April 18.

Linda’s story and all previously released runner stories are available at ChicagoMarathon.com.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reaching for recovery



Doctor helps boy who lost arm to cancer prepare for the future

September 18, 2007 - 1:05AM
Valley Morning Star

HARLINGEN — Gildardo Guzman is like most other 7-year-old boys: He likes to swim, play video games and play with his older brother Carlos.
If it weren’t for the physical aspect, no one would ever be able to tell that he battled osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, just a year ago.
Gildardo won the battle against cancer, but in the process lost his left arm and shoulder. Doctors removed the limb and joint because they feared the cancer would spread.
But Gildardo’s bubbly personality and big, bright smile divert attention from the left side of his body.
“I used to feel bad because my arm hurt all the time, but not anymore,” he said in Spanish. “I feel better now, because I don’t have pain anymore.”
Gildardo’s mother, Nancy Guzman, said learning her son had cancer was absolutely devastating.
“But the strongest one through all of this has been Gildardo,” she said in Spanish. “When he came out of surgery, when they had just removed his arm, he told me not to cry. He said that if he wasn’t crying, why should I be crying.”
Gildardo said he hasn’t stopped doing the things he did before he lost his arm — even playing his favorite video game, Zelda.
He uses his right hand and left foot to operate the game controller. And he said it only took him one day to learn how to do that.
Now that it has been more than a year since Gildardo’s arm was removed, he has hope of having an arm again.
The Guzman family lives in McAllen and said they searched the Rio Grande Valley for the best possible prosthetic arm, the cost of which will be paid by Medicaid.
That’s how they ended up in Doug Wacker’s office.
Wacker, a prosthetist/orthotist, owns Nutech Orthotics & Prosthetics in Harlingen. He said that in more than 27 years of practice in Houston at the Texas Medical Center, he has never seen a case like Gildardo’s.
Wacker has been working to create a “passive arm” for Gildardo, which will serve cosmetic purposes. But the work hasn’t been easy, Wacker said.
“No other 7-year-old has ever had one,” he said about Gildardo’s prosthesis. Wacker said he has called all over the nation, Canada and even Germany looking for the parts needed to make a prosthetic arm to fit Gildardo. Liberating Technologies Inc., of Holliston, Mass., custom-made the parts that Wacker needed to make the prosthesis for Gildardo. The artificial arm weighs about 4 pounds and is something to which Gildardo must become accustomed, Wacker said. “(The prosthetic arm) will be difficult getting used to because his center of gravity has changed,” Wacker said. “We’ll see how he does with this. I’m hoping that in the future he’ll be able to get a myoelectric prosthesis (with which) he’ll be able to control his elbow and hand through nerve impulses.”
Wacker expects Gildardo will use this prosthetic arm for about a year before exploring the possibilities of a more sophisticated one. Although Wacker is still making some adjustments to Gildardo’s initial prosthesis, the youngster could get the artificial appendage in as little as two weeks.
“This is a great feeling,” Wacker said about helping Gildardo. “This is what lets you sleep at night.”
The fitting for the prosthesis reminded Nancy Guzman that Gildardo and the whole family will have to go through a long process as he progresses to more sophisticated and functional prostheses.
“This won’t be the last step,” she said. “He’s going to have to adapt from one thing to the other and go from something simple to something more sophisticated. I know my expectations are big, but I’ve already seen that bionic arms and even human arm transplants are being done.”
Gildardo said he likes his prosthesis, because learning to control it and live with it once he takes it home will be like learning how to play a game.
“I don’t feel the same, but better,” Gildardo said as he left Wacker’s office.

Tech Tuesday — Bionic technology makes for a good fit



Originally published September 18, 2007
By Pamela Rigaux News-Post Staff
Photo by Skip Lawrence
Gettysburg resident Paul Selmer is a little lighter on his feet, and not because he lost weight.

In fact, the 6 foot, 200 pound pilot has gained a little, but feels lighter after being fitted two months ago with a high-tech prosthetic foot.

Unlike other prostheses, the PROPRIO Foot, by Ossur America and Dynastream Innovations of Canada, is "intelligent" -- it detects where the limb is in space, according to the Bionic Technology by Ossur America website, www.ossur.com/bionics.

That spatial sense is known as "artificial proprioception," hence its name: PROPRIO Foot.

"I have never walked with a smoother gait," Selmer, a 30-year amputee, said. "I don't feel it.
The foot self-adjusts to an incline or decline. I never realized what a difference it made."

The PROPRIO has an on and off switch, he said. "You flip a button to turn on the gyro that's built in it. Same thing in airplanes. It knows which way is up."

Over the last three decades, Selmer was resigned to feeling pressure on his upper leg when he walked. He never imagined it could be different.

The "hip hike," pain, as it is called, is corrected by the PROPRIO's more symmetrical and balanced gait, according to Ossur's website. Bionic technology is a fusion of electronics, mechanics and human physiology.

Selmer's Gettysburg practitioner, Jeffrey Brandt, of Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc., told him about the product. Selmer readily agreed to try it.

"Jeff had a meeting with the manufacturers," Selmer said. "They came out to show what it could do."

The prosthetic cost $20,000, the equivalent of two small aircrafts. Even so, Selmer put down the money.

"That's a good price for a foot," he said.

He plans to ask if insurance will reimburse some of it.

Brandt believes Selmer is the first client in Northern Maryland and Pennsylvania to get a PROPRIO. The foot was released to the public this summer, according to a press release from Ability Prosthetics & Orthotic Inc. Prior to that, it had been used only by veterans.

Selmer might also become the first pilot to use a PROPRIO. He is working on a way to fly with it. The limb he has been using isn't as flexible.

"I haven't experimented to see if the PROPRIO will better work for me," Selmer said. "When you get in a car, you're supposed to turn it off. It extends to the floor."

Hitting an accelerator wouldn't be ideal on land or air, he said.

"We're going to make (the PROPRIO) work; one of those Yankee ingenuity things," Selmer said.
At least one thing is for sure -- Selmer can use the PROPRIO for his daily work as owner of Gettysburg Frame Shop & Gallery, a Civil War art gallery on Chambersburg Street.
Brandt said Selmer has been easy to work with.

"He knows how to describe, very accurately, what he is feeling in his prosthetic socket and at his ankle. The most amazing thing was to see Paul walking up and down hills without leaning forward or backwards to re-distribute his weight and thus keep his balance."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Injured hound's back on track in Grindstone


By Barbara Hollenbaugh
FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Ron and Pat Russin of Grindstone were proud of their 3-month-old bloodhound puppy, Hector. He promised to be a fine natural tracker.

But on the evening of Jan. 19, 2006, Hector was left for dead in a hit-and-run accident. The dog's recovery would spawn a union between human and veterinary medical technology.

"I was taking some groceries from my car into the house," Ron Russin said. "I let Hector out into the yard. He went down over the hill to the road. He didn't come back, so I went looking for him. That's when I found him in the road.

"I moved him to the bank alongside the road. I got a wheelbarrow and took him to the house, then hollered for my wife."
Pat Russin immediately began to phone every veterinarian in the area, trying to find one whose office was still open.

Finally, at nearly 10 p.m., the Russins got through to Donald Tummons in Uniontown. The Russins said they were prepared to have Hector euthanized, if necessary.

Tummons' immediate concern was for Hector's front legs, which had taken the brunt of the impact. Upon examining Hector, he concluded the dog had only partial paralysis in his legs; there was hope that Hector would regain nerve function.

"Hector had been rolled during the accident," Tummons said. "That caused him to hyperextend his front legs, which caused bilateral paralysis in his front legs."

Although Hector sustained no other serious injuries, Tummons still was concerned for his long-term quality of life.

"Dogs can do well on three legs; they don't function so well on just two legs," he said.
The Russins visited Hector every day during his nearly weeklong stay in the animal hospital.
"We helped change his bandages," Pat Russin said. "We also gave him physical therapy; we massaged his legs and stretched them to keep them supple."

Many people throughout the community heard of Hector's accident, and they raised funds to pay for his care. Hector made weekly visits to Tummon's office for several months after the accident.

In the meantime, the Russins tried to track down the vehicle that had struck their dog. Pat Russin wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper, hoping that somebody would come forward with information about the accident.

"All I got in reply was an anonymous letter, sent directly to my home," she said. "I think it was a guilt trip from the person who did it."

Ron Russin queried his neighbors, hoping that somebody could give an eyewitness account of the incident.

"Nobody seen nothing. Nobody heard nothing," he said.

Once Hector had been stabilized, Tummons and the Russins focused on helping the dog regain his mobility. At first, Tummons used a creeper, which mechanics use when they work underneath vehicles, to help Hector move around.

A local resident fixed a baby carriage to give Hector some more mobility.

In August 2006, Tummons suggested giving Hector's legs support while still allowing him to move. He contacted Anatomical Designs in Uniontown, and prosthetics designer Brad Scott agreed to take on the assignment.

"Hector's problem was that his paralysis caused his paws to curl under, so that he was walking on his ankles," Scott said. "He was developing sores. He had many of the same problems that humans have when their legs are paralyzed."

After much trial and error and many fitting sessions, Scott developed a set of orthotics that would work for his canine patient. To make the orthotics, Scott made a cast of Hector's legs, then used the casts to make solid molds of plaster. Afterward, he took the mold and added more plaster to ease the pressure onspecific areas of Hector's legs.

Finally, Scott poured molten plastic over the casts, then finished them by adding some padding and straps.

He said making the orthotics was a learning experience.

"I had never made orthotics for a dog before," Scott said. "I had to learn my animal physiology."
The orthotics helped to stabilize Hector's legs and will prevent him from getting sores.

"If he had continued like he was, his sores would have become infected and his legs would have had to be amputated," Scott said. "I wanted Hector to run and play and just be a dog."

Today, Hector is a happy, 2-year-old bloodhound. He has adjusted well to his orthotics, which relieved the pressure on his legs and allowed his sores to heal. These days, he hardly needs them.

"Hector loves to play ball. I can't keep up with him," Ron Russin said.

The dog has regained motion in his right leg, but his left paw remains paralyzed. Hector also has some slight unevenness in his legs.

Still, Tummons is pleased with Hector's recovery. "He has adapted amazingly well," he said.
Scott recently had another canine client, from north of Pittsburgh.

"The ligaments in this dog's rear left leg had snapped, so effectively that leg had been detached from the body," he said. "My vet referred me to the family, because she knew that I had designed orthotics for Hector.

"Because I'd worked with Hector, I was able to design a brace that would give this dog's leg the support that it needed while it healed."

Scott said the dog is doing well.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Armed With 4 Legs, Amputee Heads to Big Race


Written by Deborah Hoffman, Reporter
Two and a half years ago, 33-year-old Jonathan Bik was completing the final test to become a lineman for Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
He was 45 feet off the ground when he lost his footing. "I came straight down the pole and landed flat-footed," said Bik. He snapped his femoral artery and doctors could not save his right leg.
The father of two young girls was not going to let his injury keep him down. "All I have to do is look around a little bit and there's always somebody that's got it a little harder than I do, so it kind of puts it in perspective," he said.
While Bik was in the hospital his thoughts turned to running. "I wanted to be able to run again. I'd seen it in magazines," he said.
He calls himself extremely lucky, saying "SMUD's been great. They've taken care of all of my prosthetic needs."
Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics fitted Bik with three different prosthetics: one for everyday use, one to help him run, and one for biking."I jumped right into the highest technology stuff," he said.
With the support of his wife and daughters, Bik began training to compete in triathlons. On Sunday he will compete in the Triathlon World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
He laughed when he said that all he wants is a medal. But even without a medal Bik will tell you he's a winner.
He said he's become a better person after losing his leg. "I don't think I really realized what I had before," he said. "One of my greatest improvements is appreciating the things that I have and what I'm able to do."

Copyright 2007

News10/KXTV

. All Rights Reserved.

Created: 8/28/2007 2:56:39 PM

Updated: 8/29/2007 5:11:06 PM

Insurance denies amputees limbs

J. Douglas Call

Call is the president of Virginia Prosthetics Inc. in Roanoke, the largest orthotic and prosthetic provider in Southwest Virginia.

"Believe in your possibilities."

That's what I tell patients I see for the first time who have recently lost a limb to amputation. For most patients it's not what they want to hear, and understandably so. Limb loss, whether it's the result of an accident or disease, is a traumatic, life-changing event.

Regardless if the new amputee sitting in front of me is a 17-year-old long-distance runner or a senior citizen who's an active gardener, the reaction is invariably the same. They're skeptical their life can ever be good again -- let alone believe that, with the proper treatment, they'll be able to do the things they once loved, like run a marathon or tend to their garden. But in time, most become believers and realize their possibilities, thanks to continued advancements in the field of prosthetics, experienced and compassionate practitioners, individual determination and a strong family support network.

So imagine my frustration, and more important my patients', when I have to tell some amputees the following: "I have the expertise and technology to fit you with a prosthesis that will help restore the active, fulfilling lifestyle you knew before the amputation, but your insurance policy won't pay for treatment because your insurer either doesn't cover prosthetic care or has reduced its coverage significantly."

In these situations, which are happening with increasing frequency, we still treat the patient because we don't believe in turning anyone away, even if their insurer won't cover the treatment. Previously, we've donated tens of thousands of dollars in treatment and materials to patients, and I'm sure that we will continue to do so.

However, we are not a nonprofit organization and the alarming changes we are witnessing among insurers when it comes to covering prosthetic care threaten our continued ability to treat patients unless changes are made.

Amputees in Virginia today face the grim reality that a growing number of group and private insurance companies are imposing unrealistic caps on prosthetic coverage or are eliminating coverage altogether. Depending on the amputee's level of activity and type of amputation, a prosthesis can cost anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of $40,000. Some insurers force their insureds to accept policy limitations, such as one limb per lifetime, a $2,500 maximum lifetime benefit or a $500 limit on treatment per year.

Unbelievably, some companies are even eliminating prosthetic coverage altogether. There is no consistency among insurers when it comes to prosthetic coverage and there needs to be.
Several states, including Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and California, have already recognized this problem and passed legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for prosthetic care.

In Virginia, a concerned group of patients, orthotic and prosthetic providers, legislators and the Amputee Coalition of America have joined forces under the banner of WAVE, Working Amputees of Virginia for Equality. Together, we are supporting Senate Bill 931, prosthetic parity legislation that requires health insurance companies to provide coverage for the repair and replacement of prosthetic devices and components.

This draft bill is presently before Virginia's Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits, whose members will decide this fall whether the bill dies or takes the next step toward becoming a reality. Commission members should allow this bill to move forward, especially in light of the facts.

Mandating prosthetic coverage can actually save the commonwealth money through cost savings in unemployment insurance, state employment and training programs, rehabilitation and counseling programs and other social welfare systems. According to the coalition, it is estimated that every dollar spent on rehabilitation, including prosthetic care, saves more than $11 in disability benefits. The fiscal savings that result from legislation requiring prosthetic coverage pale in comparison to the nonfiscal benefits that accompany mandated prosthetic coverage.

Amputees who have access to prosthetic care and devices show a reduction in the secondary conditions caused by a sedentary lifestyle, have decreased dependence on caretakers and a reduced chance of diabetic-related complications leading to additional limb amputation.
Most important, this segment of the population can become contributing members of society again instead of being dependent on it.

I urge the commission to allow a prosthetic parity bill to move forward and the nearly 40,000 Virginians living with limb loss or limb deficiency to once again believe in their possibilities.

Orthotics for Abby... A.K.A - field trip for the heart.


The kids and I had to go to Walter Reed Hospital in DC today to get Abby's new orthotics. We spent 3 hours in the prosthetics clinic watching men whose lives and bodies have been obliterated by tragedy in far away places.
The doors to the clinic would swing open wide and these men would roll themselves in the clinic in their wheelchairs and throw their old prosthetic on the counter, laugh and joke with the staff and then minutes later you would see them test driving the new limb while running up the hallway.
Several of them had wives push them in - women with a strength of spirit and heart that seemed too great for words - put pain that was still so close to the surface that they couldn't make eye contact with you.
I could have gotten a babysitter for the two little guys - it was an all day affair. But frankly, I wanted them there. I shared with Michael before we went in what we would see, how he should behave when he saw it and then assured him I'd answer all of his questions when we got back in the van. He was a trooper - amazed while not really understanding how amazing it all was.
Truthfully, I want my kids to see the ugliness of reality - actually I guess I want them to see that NOTHING is FREE. I want them to know of great men and heroes, and people who pay the price and march on.
That's true of their knowledge of Jesus too. I want them to not only know Him as the Savior who rescued them - but also the Savior who was broken and bled and nearly crushed- I want them to know the tomb, only after they've sat at the feet of the cross where the blood trickles down over them. The truth is we need a Savior who bled for us and we need soldiers who will do the same for our freedom in this country and around the world. The sad thing is - very often we want the victory without the battle to the extent that we'll ignore the battle altogther and those who fought.
Wasn't it David who said - "I will not give Him that which costs me nothing".
Today was a reminder of people who say that sort of thing and then have to live with it.
The crazy thing is - the Prsthetics and Orthotics clinic is the rowdiest clinic at that hospital I think - those guys laugh and joke, and talk and share a camaraderie - some unspoken connection that is sacred and precious and solid. It was awkward to be in the room at some points - not because of their injuries - but because of their laughter. I felt small, and shallow and trite.
As we left today, another gentleman was being rolled out to the elevator in front of us - his injuries looked new, his face still carried grimaces of terror and shock - one leg was gone, the other in a cast with tubes hanging out where the foot should have been, one arm in a cast and a tube running out of his shirt at his neck - I never saw him blink. I hope we see running down the halls the next time we're there, or maybe just sitting in the room next to us deciding whether he wants the shiny silver leg, or the flesh colored one made for running. Pray for him - it's a long way from where he was today, to that moment - but at the very least we owe him and others like him a prayer.

Posted by Cindy and the Wards at 6:38 PM

Amputee To Walk For Thame Charity

AN AMPUTEE who lost an arm and a leg while clearing landmines in Mozambique, is currently cycling from the Thai border to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, to help raise funds and awareness for the Thame charity, The Cambodia Trust.

Chris Moon MBE's fundraising will help the Cambodia Trust to provide prosthetic (artificial) limbs, wheelchairs and the opportunity to go to school for many Cambodian children disabled by landmines, polio and other conditions.

"In 1993 I was clearing landmines for a charity in Cambodia and I saw the terrible circumstances in which Cambodian disabled people struggle to survive," explained Chris. "In 1995 I learned the importance of artificial limbs when I lost my lower right arm and leg walking in a supposedly clear area in a minefield in Mozambique."

Moon has undertaken a number of extreme challenges to raise funds for the Cambodia Trust, including a 300-mile run across Death Valley. "I’ve witnessed the work of the Cambodia Trust first hand for more than ten years. It’s a very worthy organisation doing excellent work," he added.

The Cambodia Trust is a UK Registered Charity, established in 1989 and runs rehabilitation centres, community-based rehabilitation projects, and Prosthetics and Orthotics education centres in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and East Timor.

To sponsor Chris Moon: www.justgiving.com/mooncyclecambodia.

To make a donation to the Cambodia Trust: www.cambodiatrust.org.uk

Chris Moon MBE : Biography

CHRIS Moon studied Agriculture with a development bias, worked as a volunteer at a centre for the homeless and then joined the army. On leaving the army in 1993, he began work for British charity the HALO Trust, clearing landmines in Asia and Africa. Whilst working in Cambodia in 1993, he was abducted by Khmer Rouge guerrillas with two Cambodian colleagues. He is one of the few Westerners to have survived the experience, avoiding execution and negotiating their release from a remote jungle base, finally walking 50km overnight through patrolled and mined jungle.

In 1995 in Mozambique he was blown up by a landmine while walking in a cleared area. He lost his lower right arm and leg, but does not consider himself a victim because he chose to work in mined areas, “whereas people who live there have no choice”. Doctors say he survived against the odds because of his high level of fitness and his knowledge of first aid. After leaving hospital he did a Masters Degree in Security Management at the University of Leicester.

In 1996 Chris was awarded the MBE from the Queen for services to the HALO Trust, clearing anti-personnel mines and received a bravery award from Diana, Princess of Wales. In 1998 he received the US Centre for Disability and PALM international leadership award. In March 1999 Lord Snowdon honoured Chris with the Snowdon Special Award for his leadership and support of disabled people. He has also been awarded honorary degrees and doctorates by the universities of Plymouth, Leicester and Exeter.

Less than a year after leaving hospital, Chris completed the London Marathon to raise funds for land mine-injured people in Cambodia. In April 1997 he was the first leg amputee to complete the 250km Great Sahara Run, described as the toughest footrace on earth, raising £100,000 for an International Committee of the Red Cross centre providing prosthetic limbs in Vietnam. He carried the Olympic torch into the stadium in the Nagano Winter Olympics in Japan in February 1998 and ran from Hakone to Tokyo to raise funds for a Japanese charity. In April he started and ran the Flora London Marathon (the first person to ever do this), captaining a team of 500 runners raising funds for charity. In September 1998 he completed Australian’s ‘Outback Challenge’ to raise funds to support mine action programmes. In 1999 he ran the length of Cambodia (700km), supported by a team from the Red Cross, to challenge attitudes towards the disabled, to raise funds and to support requests for the Cambodian government to ratify the Ottawa Treaty.

In July 1999 he was the first amputee to complete the Badwater Death Valley Ultra-marathon. In April 2000 he jointly led a party climbing Kilimanjaro on a new north route. In May 2000 he completed the 100km Kumamoto volcano run in Japan and in July 2000 was one of only 12 people in the world to do the Death Valley 300 miles, from the lowest point of the USA continuously on foot to the highest point and back again in just over six days in temperatures over 130 degrees Fahrenheit. He did it again in 2001 to test false legs and is one of only a handful of people in the world to complete this double desert crossing twice.

Chris Moon established his own company, MTB (Making The Best - his philosophy in life), and is a well-known speaker on the subjects of change management, motivation, leadership and challenging the concept of limitation. His autobiography, ‘One Step Beyond’, was published by Macmillan in 1999.

Chris' story was shown on Channel 4 television in September 2006, as part of the ALIVE series. For more information please visit Channel 4's website: http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/A/alive/programmes_6.html

Hope for the Dog

Karen Zatkulak
August 29, 2007 - 12:34PM

A local puppy is preparing for prosthetics. It's never been done before, artificial limbs on not one, but two legs of a nine week old maltese.

Hope barks and looks like most little maltese puppies do.

"Hope is like any normal nine week old puppy, she's playful and lively and plays with the other dogs like she has all of her legs," said Mary Dube, who got Hope.

However, the four legged friend was born with only two.

Dube got Hope through an organization called Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue that welcomes in dogs in need of help.

While Hope has no problem getting around, Dube wants to give her a fair chance to walk around like a dog, instead of hopping like a bunny.

This is the first time prosthetic limbs will be attempted on an animal like this. Hope will come to Dynamic Prosthetic and Orthotic where they'll make a cast of Hope before making her new legs.

Locke Davis will be making the device, that's much different than the human legs he's used to, but hopes it will work.

"Basically it's a mechanism that's gonna have wheels on the bottom, it's more like a rolling wheelchair or something rather than an artificial limb so he can propel it and drive it with his hind feet," Davis said.

Dube said,"It will help her around on a surface in a home or yard as any other normal dog would, she's not going to be able to go up stairs or anything, that haven't made doggy prosthetics that advanced yet."

But advanced enough to give young Hope hope for a somewhat normal, playful doggy life.

Hope will get the fitting for her new legs this Friday.

Afterwards she will have to go through rehabilitation to build up her back legs.