Now that Fundación Prótesis Para la Vida in Ibarra has been operational for almost three years, we are seeing many adults and children return for adjustments, new sockets, and new prostheses or braces. Here in Ecuador where people walk so much, the children are very active, and the terrain is extreme, parts wear out more quickly.
All our patients are memorable but these two stand-out from our last trip.
Jen Lee, CPO from Colorado adjusts Ivan’s braces
One young high school student with Cerebral Palsy has struggled his whole life with walking. He has had two surgeries to his knees, but due to inadequate follow-up, his extreme crouch gait did not improve. He now has had a surgery to his feet and is using corrective knee braces, with the plan of aggressive therapy and gradual correction to reduce his knee contractures. Already Ivan is more upright and we hope that he will be able to reach his goal of standing to sing and play guitar.
Family from Chota
A grandmother came from an arid and undeveloped area of the country near Ibarra accompanied and supported by 12 members of her huge family. The entire family combined resources to make a small donation for her above-knee prosthesis, and the family remained with her and actively participated in her fitting and rehabilitation as she learned to walk. (see pic of this family)
Our ten-week prosthetics class for physical therapy students was successful and we now have four students who will have nine-month internships with prosthetists in Quito. Thank to all the professionals, iincluding Larry Morton CPO of North Carolina and Cristobal Tasiguano of Quito, who helped with the course and with the patients. The students made final presentations to large groups from the University, including the Vice-rector, professors, and over 150 students. We took a fieldtrip to Quito on September 30th to visit prosthetic clinics with our students and expose them to other clinic environments. The excitement of the visit to the capital city that day was augmented by a police-presidential confrontation, closing of the airport, and rumors of a coup, but the populace remained calm in Quito and everything was fine for our trip and all settled down the next day.
Cristobal Tasiguano from Quito adjusts an upper limb prosthesis
More volunteer opportunities are available with our clinic for rehab. professionals and students who want to have a great adventure. Our next trips back will be in Jan./Feb. and June of 2011. We help people walk and get back to their lives who otherwise might not have access to prosthetics and orthotics. We are teaching and collaborating in an area where the field is just developing. And still find time for climbing 15,000 feet to the snowline of Cayambe, visiting the cloud forest of Mindo, and seeing artisans at work in their carving and weaving studios. We hope to follow up the prosthetic course with an orthotics course in the next year. Please contact our North American Coordinator, Jennifer Lee, CPO ( JHLNewYork@aol.com) for more information.–Kit Frank, OTR