Mercer's Mission: Completing Lives with Prosthetic Limbs
One professor and several students at Mercer University are using their hands to give others a chance to have their own. The prosthetic initiative is part of "Mercer on Mission," a program to help the needy in third world countries. And one professor is fulfilling his long-time vision of helping the disabled in Vietnam.
"I was born and raised in the Vietnam War. When [i was] a war child I've seen soldiers with no legs and they are still on the floor and they crawl on the floor. Some of them are still there after the war like 35 years," said Professor Ha Vo, leading the prosthetic program.
The project was supported by President Clinton and 250,000 dollars were awarded to the initiative for three years.
"We went to Vietnam last year in June 2009 we successfully fit 35 prosthetics," said Dr. Vo.
This June the program is taking 12 students and 100 limb prosthetics to Vietnam.
"I'm looking forward to it. I've never been out of the country so that will be an experience, but like Dr. Vo, he's a great leader and hopefully it will be a great success. I'm sure it will be," said Jerod Northcott, a student majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Mercer University.
And Dr. Vo is expecting nothing less than success since his prosthetic design is proven to be 99 percent successful.
What makes these prosthetics extremely efficient is that they come in three different sizes; small, medium, and large, and they stretch and adapt to fit the patient.
For the first time the group will be traveling to Haiti to provide prosthetics this May. Dr. Vo says he hopes that with growing support they can also expand to other countries. For now, he wants to continue his long-term goal and help students reach their own.