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May 11th, 2010 | By | Category: News

Portable Prosthetics Lab for HaitiGlobal Portable Buildings provides modified steel cargo containers for use as temporary homes, offices, emergency shelters and crew quarters. On May 18, a flatbed truck will pick up the two 8×20 steel containers that are now customized prosthetics labs, and drive them to Miami for the barge trip to Haiti. Jon Batzdorff, owner of Sierra Orthopedic Laboratory in Santa Rosa, is coordinating the relief mission and will take enough material and volunteers to Haiti to make 100 artificial legs.

Art Forman, a retired prosthetist from Las Vegas, visited the Haitian capital in March to assess the demand for artificial limbs. He knew from three previous visits to Haiti that “the need was terrible,” but that humanitarian aid was limited because of Haiti’s reputation for political instability and corruption, according to the Press Democrat. The January earthquake killed about 200,000 islanders and crushed the limbs of many more, creating about 5,000 more amputees.

Together, Mr. Batzdorff and Mr. Forman raised funds to customize the steel containers from Global Portable Buildings. Workbenches were built and the labs were packed with $75,000 worth of tools and equipment. The two buildings make a complete prosthetics laboratory which will be installed on the grounds of Port-au-Prince’s Adventist Hospital. They will manufacture artificial legs made mostly of plastic to withstand the island’s humid climate.

Interior Prosthetics Lab for HaitiThe project is managed through the nonprofit ProsthetiKa.org which Jon Batzdorff created five years ago to help amputation victims. ProsthetiKa has fabricated and fitted prostheses in Mexico, India, Lithuania and Bolivia. “Of all the portable buildings we have shipped to Haiti,” said Sean Taylor of Global Portable Buildings, “I am most proud of these labs.”

The labs were customized in Santa Rosa by Arnie Lund of Colfax, who taught prosthetics in Kenya with the Peace Corps in 1973, and Wayne Wendell, a retired Santa Rosa engineer who also does welding.

“I’m retired,” said Lund. “There’s a big need and we have a little bit of help we can offer.” Donations helped Prosthetika get the labs ready for Haiti but more is needed to keep them running, Jon Batzdorff said. You can donate through PayPal or credit card.

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