By Jennifer Browning
Magdala, 22, hoists herself onto the examining table so that Project Medishare’s certified prosthetic orthotist (CPO) Davor Krchelich can scan her leg where her new prosthetic limb will be placed. She watches quietly as the laser scans across her knee tissue and curiously stares at the computer screen which begins to paint a picture of the socket that will need to be built for her new prosthetic.
In the small prosthetic lab at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM), Davor uses the BioSculptor to scan the limb to determine how the socket for Magdala’s prosthetic leg should be constructed. Davor said it is fantastic technology to have here in Haiti.
“The Biosculptor is helping us actually realize the scans from here. We are taking measures instead of using plaster, wrapping with plastic,” he said.
The wand Davor uses has two cameras that gather images as the laser beam passes over the patient’s tissue and what those cameras see is transmitted onto a screen. The image file is saved, 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 will be made.
“Later on, virtually, we are able to use the information to make the prosthetic socket more feasible for the individual patient,” he said. “The socket is the most important part of the prosthetic limb. It is the socket that can help make a person walk or just stand.”
Once Magdala has been scanned, and the file is sent to the US it takes about two weeks for the socket to be sent to HBMPM where she will get measured and fitted for their new limb. From there it is all about physical therapy, and learning how to use her new leg.
Davor looks up to watch Marianna, 15, is getting the assistance of Cedieu Fortilus and Wilfred Messine who are guiding her through exercises as she begins to get comfortable with her new leg. Both Fortilus and Messine have been hired by Project Medishare and are training to be prosthetic technicians.
While the technology being used at HBMPM is important in getting the prosthetic right for the patient, Davor and his team feel their encouragement for their patients is equally as important. With this in mind they have worked very hard to create a safe environment for their patients so their are no distractions when it comes to teaching them to walk.
“It’s very personal,” he said, “when you are learning how to use the prosthetic. That’s why we try to create an environment to give them a free feeling. This way they start off with more confidence, they are more relaxed and more willing to achieve something.“