By Jennifer Browning
When plastic surgeon Dr. Joel Kopelman and his son Ross volunteered at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM) several weeks ago, one of the most noticeable things the two saw were the amount of amputees.
What impressed upon Ross Kopelman the most was how hopeful the amputee patients at HBMPM seemed.
“I was standing out in courtyard saw one amputees who was spinning around on one leg and he seemed like he was very happy,” Ross, a student at New York University said. “It was an amazing thing to see.”
Today at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM), certified prosthetic orthotist (CPO) Davor Krchelich uses a BioSculptor to scan the patient’s limb to determine how the socket for the prosthetic leg should be constructed. Davor said it is fantastic technology to have here in Haiti, but there is currently not a machine in Haiti to make the socket mold.
Once the BioSculpter gathers the images, the file is saved and transmitted over the internet to a machine in Florida that can read the file at the prosthetic plant where the socket for the prosthetic leg is currently made.
It takes about two to three weeks for the socket to be received at HBMPM where the patient is then measured and fitted for the new limb.
If the actual machine that custom fits the socket was on site in Haiti, Joel told The Ridgewood News, it would cut the amount of time and effort needed to go through that process. After returning home, Ross and his father couldn’t forget the devastation, serious injuries, extreme poverty and the amount of amputees, so they decided to do something.
While volunteering with Project Medishare, Ross said he noticed that even those who have their limbs struggle to live in Haiti.
“But imagine what it is like when you don’t have your arm or leg,” he said. “If we could somehow provide these prosthetic legs for them it would change their lives in a dramatic way.”
When Ross returned to the United States, he and his father began working toward a plan to raise money for the people of Haiti by working to get the NYU community involved. Ross and his father are working to raise $85,000 to purchase a carving machine for making molds of the patient’s residual limb. This piece of equipment will directly help those many amputee patients they saw firsthand.
Currently, Ross is planning a fundraiser in New York City in hopes to raise a large portion of the funds needed to purchase the carving machine. The Kopelman’s have also created an online fundraising team through Project Medishare’s website. Click here to donate toward their project that will allow HBPM’s prosthetic and rehabilitation team assist our amputees more efficiently in the future.