08/08/2010 – 22/08/2011
Together with his colleague Bernhard Kastner, both Certified Prosthetic Orthotists (CPOs), he supported the Albert-Schweitzer Hospital (HAS) in Deschapelles in providing prosthetic care for those Haitians who had to have limbs amputated after the catastrophic earthquake in January 2010: they made up plaster of Paris moulds, assembled prostheses, made technical adjustments on site or helped the people take their first few steps with their leg prostheses.
Apart from the difficult medical conditions on the island, such as the heat and the high risk of infection, agreements also had to be patiently negotiated with the Haitian authorities: the 300 prosthetic joints, additional modular components and 300 pairs of medi powered by Dachstein shoes specially designed for prosthesis wearers, which medi had donated to the HAS aid team, were held up at customs. It was only through the stubborn persistence of Carsten Stauf, who is leading the “Haiti Project” at medi, that the aid articles were released at all.
“It gives you an incredibly good feeling to see your patients’ eyes shining when they take their first few steps …
… I can remember a little girl with a below-knee amputation. I attended to her on the day we arrived. Despite my efforts, she showed no emotion and her face was expressionless. A few days later, she proudly walked around our fitting room with a grace and charm that impressed me. Many of our patients have experienced terrible things. But they don’t give up, some of them wait patiently for hours until we have time for them. I know I’ll never forget all that I experienced during those two weeks.”