Thousands of the people in earthquake-ravaged Haiti suffered injuries that caused them to lose an arm or leg.
Local amputees are among those donating prosthetics so the injured in Haiti can walk or otherwise function again through a campaign launched by an orthopedic medical group with care centers in 45 states.
Sharon Busser of Manteca, who lost a leg after a car crash in 1995, said she is giving a prosthetic leg and a bag of related supplies. She had stored the device after replacing it with a better one.
"It is not doing me any good," she said. "If it can do some good for a person in Haiti, I would rather that happen."
The Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics clinic on Coffee Road in Modesto is part of the nationwide campaign. Its parent company, Hanger Orthopedic Group, is collecting prosthetic limbs at its more than 670 care centers in partnership with the nonprofit Physicians for Peace and Heather Mills, an activist charity campaigner and U.N. goodwill ambassador.
The company is donating $250,000 for Haitian medical relief, including $25,000 in cash and $225,000 in orthopedic devices such as neck braces, fracture boots, wrist splints and limb immobilizers.
The prosthetic limbs are being sent to Physicians for Peace, which is working with two organizations caring for amputees in Haiti. The groups are Healing Hands for Haiti and the St. Vincent's School for Handicapped Children in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
Curtis Fitzgerald, manager of the Modesto care center, said several patients donated prosthetic legs after the call went out.
"It has been a national tragedy for Haiti," he said. "A lot of those people went through death, loss of family, loss of everything. ... My patients sympathize with them."
During the rescue operations after the quake, medical teams performed hundreds of amputations as they treated people pulled from crumbled homes and other devastated buildings. Crushing injuries and infections are expected to result in 8,000 to 10,000 amputations.
Anne Fultz, an occupational therapist for the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, said she has talked with patients and amputee support groups about donating. She recognized the need after her daughter saw a report on people disabled by the quake.
"In the United States, you can't reuse prosthetic devices, so people have them in their closets collecting dust," Fultz said. "There are many people in Haiti who can use them."
Fitzgerald said a new prosthetic limb can cost $5,000 to $50,000, depending on its level of sophistication. Patients may grow out of their original devices or replace them with more advanced prosthetics.
Other donors may be family members of amputees who have died.
Hanger care centers in 27 states have sent 100 shipments of prosthetic devices to Physicians for Peace, said Krisita Burket, a spokeswoman for the orthopedic group.
She said the devices are refurbished before they are matched with amputees in Haiti.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2321.