Artificial Limbs needed in Haiti

Hello, I am new here but come to you with a big problem needing your help.

The amount of amputees in Haiti is staggering and they will need enormous help to deal with this situation. After looking into some of the possible solutions it appears the people at are the best people available to help deal with this.

I thought core 77 might be the best place to help me find the right people to get this going. I am a student of ID and feel a bit over my head now that the incredibly helpful people at have replied to an email of mine, but this is important so I must do what I can to help and get the right people involved.

I asked them some basic questions:

text of email
I do not think a financial sponsor will be difficult given the response so far. I would like to present some information on your program and what it would take to get it up and running in Haiti to someone I know at Direct Relief International (A senior board member). They may have some insight as to which NGO might best work with your people as well as ideas on implementing the program. Some questions I think would be useful to know the answers to are:

  1. How many staff to make 1000 limbs a month?

  2. Weight of the materials involved?

  3. Power requirements for the tooling of the product? (Kilowatt hours of energy used)

  4. Size of the facilities in square feet (floor space) needed for fitting, manufacturing, and rehabilitation.

As I am trained in industrial design and manufacturing process I have some guesses about these first four questions, but estimates from experts would be far better. As well, I would like to be able to present a rough estimate of how many people in support and how many hours from the patient it takes to achieve some functional use of the limb.

I suspect Haiti will be in dire need in a month or two when the patients can leave medical care but cannot return to the life they had before.

Much respect to the fine work your organization performs.


Ken Hatch

reply to your questions are as under –

  1. Staff - we would send one team leader, one doctor / or senior Prosthetic expert, one administrator and about 20 technicians.

  2. Weight of the materials involved- we will have to send both the equipment and materials. The weight of these would be 12 tons. It would be sent in one container.

  3. Power requirements 10 kws. We will be running workshop at least ten to twelve hours every day.

  4. Size of facilities in Sq. Ft. – We may need about 2500 to 3000 Sq. Ft. for running the workshop and fitment the limbs. For the accommodation of the patients, many of whom may have stay overnight will have to be made by you according to the local customs and requirements.

A technical note from Dr. M. K. Mathur our Chief Technical Consultant is attached.

As I mentioned earlier the limbs can be fitted only after the wounds are healed this takes about three to four months.

Regarding your query about the number of people require the people the support and number of hours required for the patients to achieve some functional use of limb, the position as follows –

a. For below knee limb the time taken to manufacture will be one day or less. The patient will be in a position in a walk in next few hours. He might require one person to support him.

b. For above knee patient it might take little longer but it should also be ready on the same day. The patients may be in a position to walk at least the next day. He would also need one person to support him during for the initial two days.

I would like to add the following points –

a. Many of the people particularly those who had lost both the limbs closer to the hips may need hand paddled wheelchair. We have an arrangement with the Whirlwind Wheelchair of San Francisco under which we have been given non-exclusive rights to manufacture these. Each of these wheelchairs would costs over US$ 200. In case you decide this also we could bring these as well.

b. As you may be aware BMVSS and Stanford University San Francisco have an MOU under which we take up research and development. Under this a new Knee Joint called Jaipur-Stanford Knee Joint has been made. It has been hailed by the Time Magazine (23rd Nov 2009) as one of the 50 Best Inventions of the world for the year 2009. If you agree we would fit these as well. This would be increasing the cost by US$ 20 for each joint.

With regards,

( D. R. Mehta )
Founder & Chief Patron

This is reprinted from an email they sent me without permission I sincerely hope its OK. The technical note is the same information available at under the “technology” menu tab.

So this seems like something that could be in place when the need arises in about 3-4 months, which would be great considering how things have gone so far. I have forwarded information to my contact at Direct Relief International, but they are pretty busy with their in place operations already and I have not spoken with him.

I have confidence that the core77 community can help get this done. I have been a visitor for years now and I believe this is a good place to start brainstorming.

A thought I had is that companies with the ability to make them could donate the Jaipur knee unit to the relief effort, as well as other related materials. See Cool product: $20 artificial knee for patients in the developing world | Stanford News Release for information on the Jaipur knee device.

So you guys can help right? Any ideas on how to proceed, any experts that would like to step forward and roll this faster, Haiti needs you.

OK, go!

hrmm, I expected allot more interest in this. Oh well, making some headway on my own…

The credit to Stanford (or Jaipur) for a “new invention” with the Jaipurknee is misplaced. LEGS at LeTourneau University has been doing this for 5 years and Stanford has cribbed the design. Check out: and below.

Dec. 1, 2009 Longview News-Journal Editorial, “Credit Due: LeTourneau deserves acclaim for prosthetic knee”

Dec. 2, 2009 FOX News by John R. Quain, “David vs. Goliath: Colleges Battle Over Prosthetic Knee Invention”,2933,578994,00.html

Also, check out

Wow, you would think they would… not do that. Thanks for the info should make getting units made for donation easier if its an older design.