Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc, Bethesda, Md, and its philanthropic organization the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation introduce the Haitian Amputee Coalition in partnership with Physicians for Peace, the Harold & Kayrita Anderson Family Foundation, and Donald Peck Leslie, MD, of the Shepherd Center. The Haitian Amputee Coalition is creating a long-term prosthetic and rehabilitation center on-site at the Hopital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), an undamaged local hospital with a high clinical reputation located 60 miles from Port-au-Prince in Deschapelles, Haiti.

"Consistent with the mission of the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation to improve human mobility through sustainable clinical care in the US and abroad, the emphasis of the Haitian Amputee Coalition’s efforts in Haiti will be on creating a long-term, sustainable program of medical care, training, education, and supplies," said Ivan Sabel, Chairman of the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation, in a statement.

To be staffed by US prosthetic experts from Hanger Orthopedic Group and Physicians for Peace in conjunction with local Haitian medical professionals, the Haitian Amputee Coalition prosthetic and rehabilitation center at HAS will be functional by the end of February, says the group. More than 8,000 pounds of prosthetic fabrication equipment and machinery have been shipped to Deschapelles. with an additional 5,000 pounds to be on the ground this week. A mobile prosthetic care unit donated by Otto Bock Healthcare, a global manufacturer of prosthetic products and services, will enable the delivery of care to those who are unable to be transported to HAS.

"The magnitude of the human mobility tragedy in Haiti is staggering," Hanger President and CEO Tom Kirk said in the statement. "As the largest prosthetic and orthotic patient care provider in the United States, we feel an obligation to extend our clinical expertise and resources to help the people of Haiti. With partners such as Physicians for Peace and Dr Leslie, as well as the highly-regarded Hopital Albert Schweitzer, we are confident we can restore mobility and functionality to a significant number of amputees in Haiti."

Hanger practice manager and recipient of the Hanger Excellence Award for Clinical Leadership John "Jay" Tew, CP from Baton Rouge, La, has volunteered to serve a 3-month term at HAS as lead prosthetist for the Coalition’s patient care delivery. Additionally, the Coalition plans to create a training program to educate local Haitians to become prosthetic practitioners and technicians for the provision of long-term care in Haiti.

The development of the Haitian Amputee Coalition formalizes Haiti relief efforts that have already been under way by Hanger Orthopedic Group and the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation. To date, Hanger and its Foundation have donated $415,000 in funding and orthopedic devices to assist with the medical needs of those affected by the earthquake in Haiti. A direct cash donation of $25,000 and a contribution of $390,000 in orthopedic devices, including neck and back braces, limb immobilizers, fracture boots, wrist splints, and cervical collars were donated in late January to two nonprofit organizations currently operating in Haiti, Physicians for Peace and Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere). Additionally, at the Hanger Orthopedic Group Annual Education Fair in Reno, Nev, in early February,  the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation raised a further $240,000 in cash donations from Hanger employees, patients, O&P manufacturers, and other business partners.

Also in January, Hanger and the Haitian Amputee Coalition donated and delivered more than 3,000 compression garments for immediate application to promote healing of residual limbs on new amputees in Haiti and 5,000-plus booklets translated into the Haitian Creole language that explain and visually display basic physical therapy exercises for new amputees. Additionally, Hanger’s 670-plus patient care centers nationwide are serving as collection sites for a prosthetic limb drive to benefit amputees in Haiti, in conjunction with Physicians for Peace and activist charity campaigner Heather Mills.

To learn more about the Haitian Amputee Coalition, visit www.haitian-amputee-coalition.org. To make a financial donation or to volunteer expertise in Haiti, visit www.hanger-sabelfoundation.org.

Hanger Orthopedic Group provides orthotic and prosthetic patient care services worldwide. It owns and operates 677 patient care centers in 45 states in the United States and the District of Columbia, with more than 3,700 employees including 1,127 practitioners (as of December 31, 2009). Hanger is organized into four units. The two key operating units are patient care, which consists of nationwide orthotic and prosthetic practice centers, and distribution, which consists of distribution centers managing the supply chain of orthotic and prosthetic componentry to Hanger and third party patient care centers. The third is Linkia, which is a provider network management company for the orthotics and prosthetics industry. The fourth unit, Innovative Neurotronics, introduces emerging neuromuscular technologies developed through independent research in a collaborative effort with industry suppliers worldwide.

[Source: Hanger Orthopedic Group]