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Haitian Quake Victim Doing Well with Prosthesis from APO

Aug 17, 2015

20150820_130920_webKen Horsfall, CPO, LPO, was able to make a huge difference in the life of a Haitian girl.

Joe-Verly Charles, 15, lost part of her left leg after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 when a concrete wall collapsed on top of her. Doctors tried to save her leg, but ultimately she had a below-knee amputation.

Last summer she came to Iowa to receive a new prosthetic leg and therapy facilitated by Shani Marland, BSN, RN, CRRN, from Genesis Medical Center and in collaboration with APO.

Ken was able to fit Joe-Verly with a below-knee prosthesis with a low-profile Flex-Foot®, donated by Össur.

APO provided the endoskeletal components and the Genesis Health Services Foundation paid the expenses for Joe-Verly’s gait training.

“It was our hope then that the new prosthesis would allow her to get into more activities that a teen her age does,” Ken said.

Shani returned to Haiti this past May and re-connected with Joe-Verly and her father. “Joe-Verly is doing very well with the prosthesis. She attends school and spends a lot of time studying. She is able to get around a lot better. The pronounced valgus she had has improved and she has less hip and knee pain.”

Shani first met Joe-Verly on one of her frequent medical missions to Haiti.

Joe-Verly’s prosthesis was very primitive, made from scrap material. Still she was able to walk until she grew out of it. “The leg then was causing more pain than benefit,” Shani said. “The prosthetics made there are ill-fitting; they don’t have the expertise or the materials to do it correctly.”

It is not only prosthetics that are sub-par; routine medical treatment is difficult to obtain.

Shani’s missions in Haiti involve working at temporary health clinics doing physical assessments of school-age children. “We bring supplies with us and if we can get to a pharmacy in Port Au Prince or bigger cities, we will buy meds, depending on the availability. It is all very limited. The last trip we found a couple of kids with malaria. Fortunately, we were able to test and get treatment for them.

“Although Port Au Prince is more developed, the southern region of Haiti is very rough,” she said. “One of the villages is only accessible by a donkey trail up the mountain. It’s a humbling experience to go to a place like that. Most of the people I work with are very grateful that we come.”