How U.S. Prosthetists Have Been Helping Ukrainians Who Have Lost Limbs
Data from the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy suggests 12,000 amputees have lost their limbs in the Russia-Ukraine war and are waiting for prosthetic limbs. But as the conflict continues, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians can’t get the care they need. Fortunately, groups of US-based prosthetists, orthopedists, and technicians are answering the need for prosthetic limbs as well as aftercare.
One group consists of Rob Garvin, a prosthetics technician, and Todd Stone, a prosthetist, from Traverse City, Michigan. They recently traveled to Lviv, Ukraine, on a nine-day relief mission trip. They joined a team of other volunteers to help restore mobility to people who lost limbs because of the Russia-Ukraine war.
As of this writing, Garvin and Stone helped fit approximately 50 patients with custom-designed prosthetic limbs.
Another group is Protez Foundation, a US-based not-for-profit organization that specializes in providing prosthetic limbs. In May 2022, they launched the “Prosthetics for Ukrainians” project, which aims to help Ukrainian soldiers, civilians, and children who have lost their limbs during the war get free, quality prosthetic limbs in the US.
In an interview with The Print, Protez Foundation chief medical officer Dr. Yakov Gradinar said that the foundation covers all financial needs, covering not only the cost of the prosthetic limbs but also lodging and visa fees, averaging $15,000 per patient. Each patient is expected to stay in the US for three to four weeks.
Furthermore, Protez Foundation volunteers help with basic orientation and logistics, as well as provide support for the patient’s psychological and emotional recovery.
As of November 2022, Protez Foundation has received over 600 applications from affected Ukrainians. And as of December 2022, the foundation has already provided 31 prosthetic limbs to 28 soldiers, two children, and one adult civilian.
Besides providing prosthetics, Protez Foundation now also provides remote prosthetic care to Ukrainian soldiers even when they return to the frontlines through the OneStep app. OneStep is a digital physical therapy platform that turns any smartphone into a clinical-grade motion analysis lab.
The app answers the clinicians’ need to track patients’ progress and provide ongoing care to Ukrainian citizens. According to Gradinar, the foundation’s partnership with OneStep is a game-changer as it enables clinicians to stay connected with their patients and get a 360-degree view of their movement even from thousands of miles away.
The app collects gait measurements whenever a person takes a walk with their smartphone in their pocket. This mechanism allows US clinicians to monitor consistently and track multiple changes in motion over time, providing the necessary data to adjust the patients’ treatment plans.
If you’d like to donate and help Protez Foundation continue its work, please visit ProtezFoundation.com.