Sunday, May 10, 2015

Missing piece in a complex puzzle

On Friday, the rehab Tech and I worked with a patient and her family to prepare to go home that day. The day before, a visiting Ortho Team had done a complex surgical fixation of her left elbow. As we talked to the family about her history, we found that she had a stroke a short time ago. The family had been taking her to a clinic for Physical Therapy treatment post stroke. They did not have a wheelchair. As they carried her up the ramp outside the clinic, they dropped her leading to the severe fracture of her left elbow. Her right side is paralyzed from the stroke. She now has only one functioning extremity--her left leg. It is a terrible irony that the family was carrying her up a wheelchair access ramp because they had no wheelchair when she fell. Helping in Haiti is a complex puzzle. With all good intentions, someone set up the Physical Therapy Clinic to offer treatment for her stroke. With all good intentions, someone built a wheelchair access ramp so that she could go into the clinic. After the quake, many wheelchairs were donated to Haiti and some of these are probably in a warehouse somewhere. The missing piece of the puzzle is that the wheelchair never got to the patient, with tragic consequences as a result. She is now almost completely helpless. One wheelchair could have prevented this sad chain of events.

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