February 7, 2011

Prosthetic Hope International Completes Mission to Belize

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The Project Hope Belize January 2011 Team. Front row (from left): Rob Kistenberg, Sheryl Nathanson, Caryn Earl, Stefanie Flora, and Matthew Habecker. Back row (from left): Géza Kogler II, Géza Kogler, and Michael Cope. Photograph courtesy of Project Hope-Belize.

From January 2–9 Prosthetic Hope International hosted its largest ever eight-person team to the Project Hope-Belize (PHB) clinic in Orange Walk Town, Belize, Central America. PHB is the only O&P clinic in the nation. Last October, PHB upgraded its facility to enable the fabrication of custom orthotic devices and since that time, the clinic has been busier than ever, especially with pediatric orthotic patients, according to a PHB press release.

The team consisted of Robert Kistenberg, MPH, CP, LP, FAAOP, as team leader; Caryn Earl, CO; Matthew Habecker, CPO; and Géza Kogler, PhD, CO. Michael Cope and Sheryl Nathanson, students in the master’s of science in prosthetics and orthotics program (MSPO) at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta, and Stefanie Flora, MD, and Géza Kogler II administered team support. Trulife, Poulsbo, Washington; SPS, Alpharetta, Georgia; Kingsley, Costa Mesa, California; and American Plastics, Arlington, Texas, provided material support for this mission.

Silas Martinez learns to use his new “manito.” He was born with amniotic band syndrome that left him with a transradial amputation on his right arm and both legs in need of orthotic intervention. Photograph courtesy of Géza Kogler.

Over the five-day mission trip, 28 patients received orthotic and prosthetic care. Fifteen AFOs were delivered to children and an additional dozen children were given follow-up services for devices that were fitted in October, 2010. Six prosthetic patients were treated including one patient with bilateral transtibial amputations, one with a hip disarticulation, and one with a transpelvic amputation.

“This was certainly one of our busiest mission trips but the team was quite adept at dividing up the patient load, working to get the devices done and not tripping all over each other,” Kistenberg noted. “All in all this was a great way to start the year for Project Hope-Belize.”

Prosthetic Hope International is hosting missions to Belize quarterly. For more information, contact Robert Kistenberg at rob.kistenberg@prosthetichope.org

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