Monday, December 5, 2022

Foreign amputee inquiry

Randy McFarland


Have any of you had an inquiry for prosthetic care from a foreign country?

What precautions do you take to assure the inquiry is legitimate?

Thanks, Randy McFarland, CPO Fullerton, CA


Not an amputee, but a polio patient – similar though. A few years ago I had
an orthotist from Pakistan asking on e-mail if I could manufacture a pair of
carbon KAFO’s- he saw some examples on my website and said this was not
something he offered. I decided I could assist so long as we had set
appointments for for Ax/Mx and review appointments before leaving again to
ensure everything was ok and payment upfront.

The first appointment was set after a few e-mails between patient and
“orthotitst” and all was going to happen. There were a few e-mail exchanges
between myself and the patient and the orthotist. I ended up working out the
patient was masquerading as the orthotist. There seemed to be a few
inconsistencies between communication and e-mails, so I called the decided
to call the orthotist he was pretending to be, who knew nothing of the

A week prior to their visit I had a call from immigration asking a few
questions. They informed me this gentleman was attempting to get to
Australia without intention of returning.. Immigration stopped him at Hong
Kong and sent him back to Pakistan.

This certainly was an experience I had not encountered before.

In our practice we have taken care of patients from Ireland, England,

Argentina, Panama and recently a request from Nigeria. Since they are

from outside the country, those are always cash down payments in

advance. Final payment at delivery. No payment -no delivery. There were

instances when I would not let a prosthesis go out the door because of

wire transfer delays etc. but if you want to get paid, you must be

demanding. Through the years I’ve had plenty of inquiries that never

came about or patients who forgot how to speak English when it was time

to pay.

from 1995 to 2003 i did a benevolence thing in Jamaica. mainly giving away
bks small scale stuff out of my own back pocket. i was contacted by many

i usually asked for references. however it was a hard to verify anything.

i found that one of the most effective ways to obtain patients was through a
affiliation with a local ortho. and i did at one time have a “recruiter”
that would find patients and then contact me. i later found that he was
taking bribes. but that is the way of the world especially the 3rd world.

what i would like to do is start a program to provide legs like the gilly
leg from endolite. it was sold in the usa as a shower leg. what is needed is
a low cost leg that functions well and people can afford. but the inherent
cost of operations, liability etc would

make that program impossible, that along with the “professional Weenie”
attitude among most established o/p professionals.

i was a child prodigy raised in my fathers practice in the 70″s and 80’s

i now have terminal cancer. i have quite a….different perspective of the o
and p community. so much pseudo-science and infomercial-education. and the
masters/doctorate program bull stuff

what i would like to see is…a study of …”buyer remorse” among the
highly educated persons that have entered o/p in the past 15 yrs

it seems like there is quite a difference in what people think about o/p

before the enter the field and 4 yrs after passing their boards.

I have. Several times. I ask for a copy of medical history signed by the
treating physician and multiple photographs of the patient and the residual
limb. then I interview the patient on the telephone. Based on the collected
information, I assess the mobility potential and generate a suggested
preliminary prescription. We prepare a letter describing the offered
services and the fees. They present it to the Embassy for an entry visa.
Beyond this, it is the responsibility of the US Embassy to verify the facts
and either grant or deny their visa request.


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