Guest post by Physicians for Peace
A physical therapist from The Gait Center in Richmond, Va., will put her skills to work this spring at an amputee clinic in Haiti. Kirstin Anderson, DPT, is volunteering in Haiti on behalf of Physicians for Peace, an international nonprofit that sends physical therapists to work with amputees and disabled patients at the Hanger Amputee Clinic at Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles. Her mission is funded by a recent grant from ChildFund International.
“I’ve wanted to do something like this since I was 15 years old,” says Anderson, who was inspired as a teen by the medical volunteer work of family members. “It’s always been about finding the right time, and the right fit. I’ve been working at the Gait Center for a year now, and because many of our patients are amputees, that’s given me much more confidence in my abilities.”
At the clinic in Deschapelles, Anderson will work with a team of healthcare professionals, including prosthetists, to provide care to patients. While many of the patients lost a limb in the earthquake, others have been waiting for a prosthesis for years.
Between March and November 2010, Physicians for Peace volunteer physical therapists contributed more than 1,700 hours of service to Haiti’s disabled population. In that time, they completed more than 1,300 patient visits and helped 635 amputee patients learn to “walk free” with new prosthetic limbs.