When the startling earthquake shook Haiti last January, Luciano L., 8, was on the first floor of his family’s house, playing with his older brother. As the home collapsed, one of the large walls fell on him, crushing his right arm. The injury was so severe that his arm needed to be amputated, and while he received proper treatment and was lovingly cared for by his parents, he was distraught. When his parents heard that the physiotherapy team at the Tel Hashomer/JDC/MDA rehabilitation center at Haiti State University Hospital (HUEH) were fitting for prosthetic arms—a rare find—they rushed to get Luciano on the list.
Prosthetic arms, initially not as highly prioritized as prosthetic legs, are now becoming more commonly provided as a result of research showing the positive impact an artificial arm has on an amputees’ overall healing, functionality, and self-esteem.
Luciano was one of the first patients the team met with. And though he arrived frightened and confused for the three days of measuring, plastering, and fitting by the specialists, he eagerly took the physiotherapist’s training on how to use his new arm.
Today Luciano is back to playing with his brothers and friends and looking forward to starting school in September.