Unwanted artificial limbs set to transform lives

Posted on in Staff

Visitors to The James Cook University Hospital could have been forgiven for doing a double take when trolley loads of artificial arms and legs were wheeled out across the car park for a good cause.

Donations to Legs4Africa

More than 70 unwanted prosthetic limbs from the disablement services centre were piled into the back of cars to help transform the lives of amputees in Africa.

The devices were collected by volunteers from Legs4Africa, a charity which collects redundant prosthetic limbs from the UK and takes them over to Africa to give amputees the chance to be independent again. Limbs are reconditioned and refitted before being paired with their new owner.

“Once no longer required by our NHS patients we are not allowed to use the parts again and they just tend to get destroyed,” said Susan Sheldon, prosthetic services manager.

“By donating them to Legs4Africa it allows people who have lost arms and legs to put their lives back together because if they cannot tend to their crops and herds their livelihood is gone.”

The disablement services centre provides services for more than 1,000 amputees in the Teesside, South Durham and North Yorkshire areas.

Artificial limbs are made and repaired at the centre but cannot be reused by the NHS once a patient no longer has a use for them for example when they have a change in the type or size of limb needed or they decide to stop using them due to changes in their general health.

Once in Africa the artificial limbs, or components from them, can be reused to help amputees who would otherwise not be able to afford treatment.

Christopher Ingram is among those helping to gather unwanted artificial arms and legs from hospitals and amputees across the country for the Leicester-based charity.

“Christopher contacted us and we were delighted to be able to help,” said Susan. “It appears to be a family affair when it comes to giving help to the charity – his dad came to pick up the limbs but there were so many that Christopher had to send his brother to pick up the rest.”

For more information visit legs4africa.org