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A first step in 24 hrs: World’s first rapid-fitting of a triple amputee from Gaza with both Upper and Lower Limb prostheses

The importance of a multidisciplinary team in the rehabilitation of new amputees was highlighted in Geoff’s blog: Rehabilitation Starts at Time Zero. MASU, a mobile unit which will be deployed into Gaza within moments of a ceasefire, aims to deliver upper and lower limb prostheses with a team of Jordanian clinicians trained in fitting and rehabilitation. MASU will be delivering Upper Limb Prostheses from Koalaa Soft Prosthetics, which can be fitted in as little as 15 minutes, within days of an amputation. Yazan was also fitted with an Amparo Lower Limb socket, which can be fitted to the patient much faster than traditional leg sockets. 

Helping Amputees in Gaza

During the training of the MASU clinicians in Jordan, one of the significant cases they encountered was Yazan, age 13, an amputee from Gaza who lost three limbs when a bomb exploded near his home. The Jordanian military facilitated his transport to Jordan for medical treatment. Yazan lost one leg above the knee, one leg below the knee and one of his arms below the elbow. 

Advanced Prosthetics for Yazan

Yazan's rehabilitation included fitting with several advanced prosthetic devices. At the National Centre for Amputee Rehabilitation, Koalaa provided him with a soft prosthetic arm and Amparo fitted him with a leg socket. Remarkably, within 24 hours of fitting, he was able to walk—an incredible achievement for a triple amputee. The essential combination of the Amparo leg socket and the Koalaa soft prosthetic made this possible by allowing him to manage his walking aid as he adapted to his new leg prosthetic. The Kitty Tool was used to wrap around the handle of the aid and support him when walking with two prosthetic legs.

His Koalaa prosthetic also enabled him to perform tasks many of us take for granted. With the help of the Janet Tool, a tool designed to hold a pen, Yazan wrote his name for the first time since his injury. Additionally, a different tool allowed him to grasp a water bottle, restoring a semblance of normality to his daily life. The clip-on tools are easy to use immediately with little to no training and allow amputees complete everyday tasks independently.

"The breakthrough is that Yazan can now take his first steps independently and swiftly. He quickly learns to support himself and take steps using the rollator, a feat made possible by the unique balance-maintaining feature of his Koalaa prosthesis. Typically, a lower-limb amputee must first stand within parallel bars to build strength and balance, then gradually progress to walking with a physiotherapist's close supervision. For a triple amputee like Yazan, the functional design of his Koalaa prosthesis, which allows him to grip the rollator and maintain balance during training, not only boosts his confidence but also fosters rapid independence, enhancing his prospects for inclusion.

Prostheses will be a constant in his life, requiring regular replacement, particularly during growth phases. Rehabilitation is a challenging journey, yet with the Jordanian Military clinical team's support, we are confident Yazan will achieve independence. Amparo and Koalaa are committed to supporting many others like Yazan in Gaza. Their innovative technology speeds up the production of transtibial and transradial prostheses, freeing professionals to focus more on new amputees and complex cases, which are prevalent in Gaza." Commented Didier Cooreman, who used to be head of physical rehabilitation at ICRC.

A Personal Touch for Yazan

Knowing Yazan's favourite football team is Real Madrid, Koalaa customised his prosthetic arm cover using a Real Madrid football jersey. As an enthusiast of the sport, Yazan particularly admires Real Madrid's standout player, Vinícius Júnior. This addition not only personalised his prosthetic but also brought a smile to Yazan's face.

Training Clinicians for the Future

The clinicians trained by Koalaa and Amparo are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to support amputees in Gaza. They will operate from a mobile unit, providing essential prosthetic fittings and rehabilitation services when a ceasefire is called.

A Step Forward in Prosthetic Technology

This work in Jordan and Gaza highlights the significant advancements in prosthetic technology and the practical training required to implement these innovations effectively. By equipping local clinicians with the necessary skills, Koalaa and Amparo are ensuring sustained support for amputees in challenging environments.

This initiative exemplifies the practical application of advanced prosthetic solutions and the importance of training and collaboration in providing essential medical services.


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