Many of us take walking for granted while others can only dream of walking. Persons who have lost a leg have difficulty to move around and enjoy life like the rest of us. At times, these persons even lose hope since their disability restricts them. Many amputees can only dream of walking again since a prosthetic leg can cost up to $25,000 dollars. However, Prosthetic Hope International (PHI) is giving amputees new hope and making their dream of walking again a reality. Prosthetic Hope International has been coming to Belize for approximately 20 years to fit amputees with prosthetic legs. Today, they were conducting a clinic at Stella Maris in order to fit amputees with prosthetic legs; however, this time they are using a new technology. With the new technology, the process is not as time-consuming and they are able to help more patients. Love news spoke with Tyler Dunham, a Certified Prosthetist and Orthoptist who told us about the new technology.
“We are excited about the new technology so I am really glad you asked. The new technology allows me to get the shape of the patient by using this 3D scanner it is just attached to the iPad. Here you will see where we are able to get a very detailed model of a patient just by pointing this and allowing the camera to capture the shape of the model. We will be able to zoom in on the data that we need right here and discard the rest of the data. And then using a software like this one where we’ll be able to make modifications to the prosthesis and ultimately generate a shape that allows us to give a very comfortable and custom fit for the patient.”
Dunham said that with the new prosthetic leg patients will be able to walk again and do things a person with two legs perform.
“These devices take a lot of practice, a lot of therapy, a lot of exercises, but patients will be amazed at what they can overcome. When there is a will there is a way and I have seen patients not just walk and run I have seen them go on bike rides, swim and sprint and do all the amazing things that you and I would ever dream of doing. It doesn’t mean that it does come with a lot of patience and training. You would be amazed at what some of these individuals can do and run faster than I can. These materials are better suited for manual labor some of them are better for simple walking, some of these materials are really good for at say going over an uneven surface. It really kind of depends on what the work-life environment is like for that patient and it on an individual like me to make sure I choose something that is most appropriate for that patient.”
Eden Guzman lost his leg two years ago and he is looking forward to walking again.
“To walk again, make my second step to have this how I used to do it before that is the dream; to be able to walk around and do the things that I couldn’t do in this condition before. I thank God because I know receiving a prosthetic leg is a great help for anybody who has had an amputation. It helps a lot and it feels good and one of the things that I learned is that you must be patient because when we have patience everything comes to time.”
The government of Belize does not offer prosthetic services.