Project Medishare | Patients begin getting fitted for prosthetic limbs
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Patients begin getting fitted for prosthetic limbs

  |   Earthquake Response

By Jennifer Browning

She had just finished cooking dinner when the earth shook Port-au-Prince that evening in January. Manoushka Blanc along with her family ran for the door. By the time Manoushka reached the door, the walls and ceiling were already crumbling.

The doorway fell pinning her in the rubble just barely outside her house where her two sisters and four cousins were instantly killed. It was daylight before neighbors could pull her out from under the large piece of concrete crushing her right leg.

A translator helps doctors explain to Manoushka what she should expect when they fit her with a prosthetic leg. Manoushka said that knowing she will be able to walk again gives her hope.

A translator helps doctors explain to Manoushka what she should expect when they fit her with a prosthetic leg. Manoushka said that knowing she will be able to walk again gives her hope.

Her rescuers took her to the UN Hospital where Project Medishare doctors were working at the time. Although in those first 48 hours, medical supplies were limited. Doctors tried to stop the infection and save her leg—but gangrene had already taken over a good portion of her leg.

When the 24-year-old awoke from surgery she was confused about where she was and what had happened.

“It was like I was dreaming, I was still in shock from the earthquake. I didn’t realize I had lost my leg –it was only a few days after that I realized it wasn’t there,” Manoushka said. “I was in a lot of pain. I accepted it because I know the doctors saved my life.”

Before the earthquake Manoushka was a housekeeper. And while the home she where was working is gone, she still worries that without a leg she will no longer be able to do these skills.

But today, at the Project Medishare Hospital a doctor visited to educate her about the prosthetic limb they could design for her. It will take time and hours of physical therapy, but Manoushka will be able walk again.

For the first time, the she felt that there was hope.

“When I first lost my leg, I used to cry a lot,” she said, “but when they told me about this new leg, I stopped crying because I see hope for my future. I feel much better now knowing that I might be able to live a more normal life.”

Now two months after the earthquake, Project Medishare is still helping those like Manoushka who have been permanently affected by the January earthquake. Volunteer orthopedic doctors and surgeons along with physical therapists are working with our amputee patients in preparing them to receive a prosthetic limb.

If you would like to help Project Medishare continue to help those like Manoushka please click here to donate online.