The DIY spirit is so strong these days that even the U.S. Army is now building home made leg prostheses and planning on teaching Afghans how to make more from readily available parts.
A team of soldiers developed a custom prototype for an eight year old boy who lost both legs, with the idea that locals should be able to make their own prostheses so that people injured by mines and bombs can get on their feet quickly, without having to wait for a distant charity to help.
The prototype consists of a simple cast attached to a sturdy metal rod with a flat hook. The cast can be fitted in as little as one day and recast to accommodate the growth of an individual. The metal rod and flat hooked foot are easily reproduced and allow a patient to walk more naturally.
An 8-year-old child who lost both legs after stepping on a land mine received the first prototype leg June 26, 2011.
“This patient and people like him have no mobility whatsoever; his father was carrying him around on his back,” Egloff [Dr. (Maj.) Brian Egloff, brigade surgeon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team] said. “It’s all about increasing mobility and allowing them to live a more productive lives.”
Putting a face to the project seemed to strengthen the resolve of the individual working on the prosthetic leg.
“It helped knowing that the leg was for a small 8-year-old boy who was happy all the time — despite his situation,” said Warrant Officer Brian Terry, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT, who constructed the prototype.
Terry said the next step is for the Afghan doctors in this region to make their own prosthetics and to train them how to instruct victims on the use of the leg.
U.S. Army press release: TF Spartan surgeon develops prosthetic leg for Afghan IED victims…