Project Medishare | Project Medishare CPO fits first prosthetic arm
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Project Medishare CPO fits first prosthetic arm

  |   Celebrities, Prosthetic Program

Certified prosthetic orthotist (CPO) Davor Krchelich fits a patient with a prosthetic arm in the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM) posthetic lab. Photo courtesy of Davor Krchelich.

By Jennifer Browning

Last week, Evelyn, a below-the-elbow amputee, walked into certified prosthetic orthotist (CPO) Davor Krchelich’s lab at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare.

“She came in needing a prosthetic arm,” Davor said. “I began to explain to her that there were two types of prosthetics we could do for her. One type is only for aesthetic purposes, it will look like you have an arm, but it will do nothing. The other was a below-elbow functioning prosthetic and it looks like something out of terminator.”

Davor walked Evelyn over to his computer and showed her the two types of arms she could choose, but he was fearful that she might rush into a decision.

“I told her to wait a week and then make her decision,” he said.

A week later, Evelyn was back in Davor’s lab. She wanted the functioning prosthetic.

“I didn’t think I would see her again,” he said. “I was so surprised that she came back but also that she wanted the other prosthetic because to some it can look really scary.”

So far, Project Medishare has only been fitting prosthetic legs, but now, Davor said that he is getting closer to be able to fit some upper extremity amputees too.

In order to fit Evelyn, Davor had to meet up with prosthetist Adam Finnieston at a meeting in Orlando. Davor then contacted Evelyn that it was time to fit her for her new arm.

Upon fitting and securing the harness required for the prosthetic, Davor said Evelyn quickly picked up how to use the gripping mechanism, which allows her to pick up items.

“Usually it takes time and you have to really work with the patient to teach them that the movement of one shoulder will move {the gripper],” Davor said. “But this patient instantly began to understand how this worked.”

According to Davor, Project Medishare is the only organization in Haiti who is fitting prosthetic arms. The problem he said is that the majority of patients have upper-elbow amputations, and currently, this type of prosthetic isn’t available.

There is also the issue of funding to purchase the prosthetic arms, and at the moment he has two patients waiting to be fit. Davor said while he is so thankful for the Knights of Columbus who have donated $1 million dollars to the prosthetic program, that money is reserved for fitting children with prosthetic legs. Currently, there is no specific funding for prosthetic arms.

If you would like to contribute to Project Medishare’s prosthetic program, click here to make an online donation today.