A Port Elizabeth-based support group for amputees has called on residents to donate the prosthetic legs of deceased loved ones as the most expensive parts can be repurposed so that disadvantaged amputees can be helped more quickly.
“The yearly allocation of crutches and walking aids must be shared among everybody, not only amputees,” Amputee Support Group founder Peter Morris said.
“Amputees are not given priority, nor do they qualify for wheelchairs.”
He asked Port Elizabeth residents to donate any old crutches, wheelchairs, walkers and Zimmer frames they have for those without medical aid who have lost a leg.
Brian Paddey, of the Amputee Support Group, said the majority of these amputations were caused by diabetes.
“So far we have had two churches donating crutches. The Greenacres Presbyterian Church donated 10 pairs of crutches, two Zimmer frames and a walker,” Paddey said.
Morris said donations from Belgium had also been received. It was their aim this year to get more involved with amputees without medical aid.
Paddey said the amputee support group could also use portable commodes and wheelchairs in any condition. “We can have them fixed.” He said they were also making a call for people to donate the prosthetic legs of loved ones who had died.
“The components are extremely expensive and we can use these to have a new leg constructed for someone who does not have the means to afford it,” he said.
The waiting time for a prosthetic leg for patients in the public sector in Port Elizabeth is three years. “They try to help breadwinners first, but elderly people are at the bottom of the list,” Paddey said.
Morris, 80, started the Amputee Support Group in 2004 after his leg had to be removed. “Naturally this was quite a shock to me and my family. I was determined not to let this loss interfere with my life,” he said.
“The two private hospitals in Port Elizabeth are fully aware of our existence and recognise the value of our participation in assisting the patient. We desperately want to help those amputees who do not have medical aids.”
If you want to donate crutches, Zimmer frames, walkers or wheelchairs they can be dropped off at St Saviour’s Church on the corner of Villiers Road and First Avenue in Walmer.
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