The Ortho Remedy went to Haiti in March with the Overseas Medical Assistance Team (OMAT) to design and create a low-cost, low-tech leg that could be manufactured in Haiti. Tom Valenti, CPO, president of The Ortho Remedy, traveled to Haiti with the director of OMAT, Stephen S. Carryl, MD.
After interviewing and fitting five Haitians with amputations, Valenti developed a waterproof, thermoplastic, patient-adjustable prosthesis without expensive parts or labor.
According to Valenti, the approach in Haiti is “to develop a new prosthetic system that is off-the-shelf, small, medium, or large, left or right, that can successfully manage 70 percent of the transtibial amputee population.” Valenti said the ultimate goal is to make the Haitian prosthetists, technicians, and fitters self-sufficient so that they can serve the vast number of patients as a result of the devastating January 2010 earthquake.
Valenti added that his and Carryl’s next goal is to establish a better prosthetic lab at Hopital Adventiste, Port-au-Prince, where Haitian prosthetists and technicians will be taught how to fabricate and fit the new limbs. As the technicians become comfortable with thermoplastic technology, OMAT and The Ortho Remedy will be pursuing injection mold makers and thermoplastic molders to reach their ultimate goal-producing a complete transtibial prosthesis at a cost of approximately US $200-300.