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Prosthetic expert on cards


Barbados could soon have its own trained prosthetist.

The announcement was made today by Robert Draeger of the Orthotics and Prosthetics of Barbados Inc., a subsidiary of the US-based New Life Brace, during a donation of an oven and dust collector to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital today.

Calling the donation, a new era of cooperation between Orthotics and Prosthetics and the QEH, Draeger explained that he first came the Caribbean when a young girl in Trinidad needed a prosthesis for her leg. After working in Trinidad for a few years, he said the organisation was approached by a group of Barbadians who wanted them to come here as well.

In addition to setting up an organisation here which worked with the QEH and Ministry of Health, Draeger said they also recognised the need for a trained specialist.

“Over the years we continued to support and we are deeply committed to Barbados and we have trained Susanne Watts, sent her to school at Northwestern University. She is now fully trained as a prosthetist, just has to complete her residency and she will be one of our local prosthetists on the ground. We also have a fully-trained technician, Kendia Brathwaite — also been to school in the States, also certified — to help complement the technical staff at the QEH,” he noted.

The donated equipment, namely an infra-red oven capable of melting the plastics necessary to make the limbs, and a dust collection system to make the laboratory dust free, he said, was valued at $50,000.

Since opening the organisation here in 2009, Draeger said the aim was to “provide the best possible prosthetic comfort combined with technology to return the patient to an active lifestyle”.

The team here, he added, helped rebuild lives through the provision of a wide range of prosthetics and orthotics using the latest technologies and programmes.

Head of Rehabilitation, Dr. Harley Moseley said in addition to making the department more comfortable to work in, the donation would allow them to create the kind of prosthetics that would help patients.

“It is a service that is going to be provided to all Barbadians and all QEH patients coming through the amputee clinic…,” he stated, while Chief Physiotherapist Paula Walcott said it would go a long way toward upgrading the services of the clinic.

“We are so grateful … for your donation of the oven which is already in use. We wasted no time and the dust collector … on the heels of the Health and Safety Act, it is going to go towards improving the air quality in the workshop and boosting the morale of the staff as well,” said Walcott.

QEH CEO, Dr. Dexter James said this partnership was important because Government could not do it alone. (LB)

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