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Radford Member Makes Limbs for Haitian Amputees

Story by Beth Michaels

With financial support from his Radford (Va.) church family, Eric Desarme joined a team of medical experts last month on a weeklong mission trip to Haiti, where they tended to countrymen and earthquake victims still recovering from the injuries they sustained that terrible day in January 2010. The team worked under the auspices of the Hôpital Sacré Couer (Sacred Heart Hospital) in Milot, which is operated by the CRUDEM Foundation.

Desarme, a prosthetic practitioner, spent his week in a semi-trailer outfitted as a functional prosthetics lab, which had been established on the hospital grounds in April 2010. Using the donated lab materials and some creative improvisation, Desarme and a young Haitian man learning to become a prosthetist helped make six upper and six lower prostheses for amputee patients.

“We focused on making upper limb prosthetic devices since no one had fabricated any since the lab was opened,” explained Desarme. “It was the third time that many of the upper limb amputees took the long, hard trip from Port au Prince in hopes of receiving a prosthesis. We did not want to disappoint them!”

Patients most certainly were not disappointed. “I received smiles, hugs and words of appreciation. One patient danced, pointed to the sky and spoke praises to God,” shared Desarme, whose parents and other family members hail from Haiti. “Many of the earthquake victims told me how they prayed to God to survive after being pinned in the rubble. They were thanking Him for sending me to make them a prosthetics limb and that they hope to see me back in Haiti again soon.”

Desarme says that is exactly what he plans to do—in the Lord’s perfect timing. He’d like to return within the next year to continue offering his expertise to the lab, and to share his faith with the Haitian people.