Thursday, July 22, 2010
Podcasts brought to you by The Amputee Coalition of America.The contents of this Web site are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment, nor do they necessarily represent the views of the CDC. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
According to Healthcare Without Harm, U.S. hospitals generate more than two million tons of medical waste each year. Much of that waste is unused medical supplies and equipment. While in the developing world, World Health Organization estimates that more than 10 million children under the age of five die due to inadequate medical care.
So what can be done?
MedShare is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving healthcare and the environment through the efficient recovery and redistribution of the surplus of medical supplies and equipment to those most in need. We collect surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals, medical distribution companies and individuals, and then redistribute them to qualified healthcare facilities in the developing world. We also outfit medical missions and safety net clinics in both the U.S. and abroad.
The MedShare Bridge
Step 1Gathering supplies:
Gathered more than $70 million worth of life-saving medical supplies and equipment.
Recieved medical products from hundreds of hospitals and corporations
Collected over 10,000 pieces of equipment.
Step 2Matching needs:
Sorted more than 2,200 tons of medical supplies.
Provided approximately 1,000 different items per shipment.
Built volunteer corps exceeding 700 per month.
Step 3Improving healthcare and the environment:
Shipped more than 550 forty-foot containers to 80 countries.
Saved in excess of 1 million cubic feet from area landfills
Provided medical supplies for over 1,000 medical mission teams
Our shipments of medical supplies and equipment have decreased our carbon footprint and brought healing and the promise of better lives to 80 countries and countless patients.
SALEM — Prosthetic limbs aren't the first thing that comes to mind when people wonder what can be recycled — but Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital is hoping to put old limbs to new use.
"As people grow and change, their limb grows and changes, so they usually end up with one or two hanging around the house that they can't use anymore," according to Joanne Desmarais, a physical therapist and in-patient program coordinator at the hospital.
But those limbs can help others, and the hospital is collecting them over the next month. Federal regulations do not allow prosthetics to be recycled in the United States, so the donated limbs will be sent to other countries.
"It goes to people in other countries who don't have access to the new prosthetics," Desmarais said. "We're hoping a good share of them get to Haiti, but we can't be guaranteed where they go."
The hospital is working with American Prosthetics and Orthotics, which has an office in Salem, to collect the prosthetic limbs. They will be donated to MedShare, an agency that recycles and distributes surplus medical supplies and equipment.
"When people first have their amputation, their leg is a very different shape and size than it will be over the course of their recovery," she said. "The limb that they get first usually works for the first six months to a year."
Many people who have extra prosthetic limbs at home are eager to donate them to others.
"They're very aware of the financial cost of a prosthetic, and then they're also so much aware of the benefit of having a prosthetic, so they're usually more than willing to pass them on."
The last time the hospital collected prosthetic limbs was in 2006 when more than 100 were donated. Desmarais said she is looking forward to receiving a similar number this year.
"I think 100 was a pretty good turnout, so I'm hoping," she said.
Desmarais said the Northeast Rehabilitation hospitals in Salem and Nashua will both participate, as well as the dozens of outpatient facilities that are part of the network. They will continue to collect the limbs throughout July.
Desmarais said the drive will also be a nice way to part with prosthetics left behind by family members who have died.
"When people are sick, they accumulate so much equipment and then when they don't need it anymore, a lot of people want to get it out of sight," she said. "This is just a nice way to do it."
• • •
Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.
Anyone who wants to donate prosthetic limbs or orthotics should bring them to Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital, 70 Butler St., Salem. Donations can also be sent to Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center's West Campus, 29 Northwest Blvd., Nashua.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Young Amputee, a Northbrook Auto Mechanic,
Gets Prosthetic Aid Via Central American Group
When a pair of Chicago prosthetists founded the Range of Motion Project in 2005 to provide artificial limbs to amputees in Central America, they picked Guatemala to serve as its hub of operations.
But the group’s reach extends well beyond that nation—even to local spots like Northbrook, where 24-year-old auto mechanic Justin Southwick has plied his trade while in a prosthetic leg made possible by ROMP.
The local connection came about after ROMP co-founder Eric Neufeld connected Southwick with David Speers, a certified prosthetist and orthotist working in the Schaumburg office of Scheck & Siress.
Southwick’s insurance company refused to cover the cost of a prosthetic leg. Neufeld, also a Scheck & Siress certified prosthetist and orthotist, told Speers he would send him the necessary parts, and Speers agreed to donate time to make a prosthesis and all adjustments as needed.
Meanwhile, Southwick and his family decided to make a no-strings attached donation to ROMP.
Since its inception, ROMP has received strong support from Scheck & Siress, the Chicago area’s largest private orthotic and prosthetic provider. The organization has helped fit about 750 people with prosthetic limbs and provided more than 1,800 with orthotic devices.
“ROMP’s mission is to serve people in need, and that need is universal,” Speers said. “Insurance costs are a major issue to so many people here in the United States. It feels good to be able to help someone overcome that hurdle.”
A 2004 graduate of Lake Zurich High School, Southwick and his wife, Megan, have one daughter, Alexis, and reside in Deer Park. When Alexis was two months old, in early 2008, Southwick began experiencing pain in his left leg.
The first sign of trouble came when the leg, just above the ankle, would get sore when he tightened his work boots or when he was on his feet all day. A series of examinations, X-rays and MRIs left a trail of puzzled doctors who thought the problem may have been a bone bruise or hairline fracture, among other possibilities.
Then, in May 2008, one ordered a biopsy and found a rare form of bone cancer in the tibia, or shinbone. The news shocked Southwick, who wondered how he’d be able to support his family and whether he’d be able to run and play with his daughter as she grows.
Reconstructive surgery and other surgeries followed, including the transplanting of a left thigh muscle, and two skin grafts from the other side of his thigh, into the affected area near Southwick’s ankle.
Southwick was in a wheelchair for two months, spending much of that time at home doing special workouts to prevent blood clots. In all, the graft worked for about four months. However, infections set in and on August 27, 2009, he had amputation surgery.
Further discouragement came when his insurance company stated that it would not cover the cost of a prosthetic leg. At this point, Speers and ROMP stepped up—Speers donating his time to fabricate a prosthetic leg, and ROMP furnishing the leg from previously used parts of other prosthetic legs.
About a month later, Southwick was fitted with his first prosthetic leg and returned to work at Thalmann’s Alignment, 1904 Willow Road. He drove cars to and from customers, answered the phone and performed other administrative work while he adjusted to his new leg.
Southwick has visited Scheck & Siress’ office in Schaumburg, 1701 E. Woodfield Road, about twice a month since then. Speers has made adjustments along the way to fitting him for a permanent prosthesis.
“Scheck and Siress has been great,” Southwick said. “David’s made the whole process a whole lot easier.”
This March, Southwick fell and damaged his prosthetic leg. He contacted Scheck & Siress, which “got me in there right away” to make the necessary adjustments, Southwick recalled.
“David won’t let you leave unless you know you’re walking right,” said Southwick. “He’ll make some adjustments so that it’s as perfect as it possibly can be before you leave his office. It’s nice to know that he truly cares.”
Meanwhile, Southwick has resumed his prior duties as a mechanic, enabling him to “work on cars as good as ever,” he said. Now his sights are set on running his own business and leading an active lifestyle in which he enjoys as much time as possible with his family and friends.
And when Alexis, now close to 2 ½ years old, asks her daddy to push her on a swing or play hide-and-seek, Southwick jumps at the invitation.
“I’m not looking to rebuild the world,” Southwick said. “I just want things to go back as much as possible to where they were, without having to take medications or see doctors all the time. Already, I’m pretty much there.”
For more information, to get involved, or to find out how to donate a used prosthesis to ROMP, contact any Scheck & Siress practitioner at any of the company’s 11 locations in the greater Chicago area.
Online, you can visit www.scheckandsiress.com or www.rompglobal.org