Adventist Review Online | From Paint to Prosthetics

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Mission trip to Mexico renders unexpected service to a girl who lost an arm

uring a weekend student mission trip to paint an orphanage in Baja California, Mexico, Michael Moor could not have anticipated he would have the opportunity to dramatically change the life of one little girl.

Moor, instructor of orthotics and prosthetics at Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions in Loma Linda, California, United States, said the original plan was for the student mission group to paint playground equipment at the Door of Faith Orphanage, one of the largest orphanages in Baja California. But news of the group’s arrival soon traveled to a local health-care center, Siloé Wellness Center in La Misión — run by co-founder and medical director Sarah Mayer, a Loma Linda University alumna.

When Mayer found out the mission group had representatives from the orthotics and prosthetic and the physical therapy and occupational therapy departments, she asked if Moor and a small student team would be willing to see a few patients the next day. The health-care center is unable to offer orthotics and prosthetic specialty services to patients.

“We assessed four patients in one day, fashioning molds and prostheses using supplies from the health-care center and the local hardware store,” Moor said. “But one case was significantly more complex.”

At seven years old, Miranda had been the victim of an equestrian accident. While she was leading a horse from the back of a four-wheeler, the rope wrapped around her arm as the horse spooked. The wild mare sprinted away, and the noose tightened, dismembering Miranda’s arm at the elbow from her body. 

After the accident, she was given a passive arm prosthetic designed to look like a natural arm, without active movement or functionality. Now at nine years of age, Miranda had not only outgrown the prosthetic arm but was unable to do everyday tasks like tying her shoes without the help of others.

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