Florencio Needs Surgery So He Can Help Others

  • 0

Florencio Needs Surgery So He Can Help Others

Amputee with prosthetic leg

Amputee with prosthetic leg

Donate to Florencio’s surgery bills so Florencio can help others to walk again.

Florencio was born in 1963 and he first lost his leg when he was only 17 years old.  He was working with his father on a road crew doing street construction.  On one fateful day, there were some huge rocks that were on a hillside and obstructing the path of the roadway.  There was no specialized blasting crew to take crack them so Florencio and his father laid their own dynamite charges to break up the rock.  But after arming and attempting to detonate the dynamite, it didn’t explode.  After waiting some time, and with great trepidation, Florencio and his father started to approach the charges they had laid to see what went wrong.  As they were getting close suddenly the dynamite went off with a roar and massive rocks came crashing down the hillside.  Florencio’s father turned to look and saw that Florencio’s leg has been pinned to the ground under a huge rock.

Florencio’s first thought was to jump up and run away but he was trapped.  Rocks and dirt had also smashed into his head and peeled off a large chunk of skin from the side of his skull. His father ran to him in a panic and started to clean the injury, first with his own urine and afterward alcohol. And then his father sewed the skin of his head together with regular sewing needles and thread before they could take him to the hospital.

After days of waiting in the hospital, the doctors finally amputated his hopelessly crushed leg.  But something went wrong during the surgery and days later they had to amputate again, a little further up the leg.  After more time spent in agony, they amputated even high up the leg for a third and final time. Florencio was left with a stump below his knee and he was not yet even 18 years old.

When he finally got out of the hospital, he felt humiliated to be without a leg,  He didn’t want anybody to see him so he moved to a different city to try to start a new life.  After arriving in the new city, he knew that he had to work again to support himself, and he decided he wanted to study nursing.  But due to a fortuitous meeting with a man who worked for an NGO named “Terre des Hommes” Florencio found work.  At the NGO Florencio was introduced to prosthetic limbs and he decided that that was what he was going to do with his life – help others who had lost their limbs so that they could not only walk again but also regain their sense of dignity, pride, and self-worth.

Working for this NGO Florencio was given the opportunity to study Orthotics and Prosthetics in Peru and Brazil. He worked for Terre des Hommes for many years until they finally had to close.  But Florencio’s life path had now been set and for the next 30 years, Florencio constructed 1000’s of prosthetic legs as he also continued to pursue any additional training classes as he could find.

In January 2011 Florencio joined with our partner, FUNPROBO in Bolivia, to be their one and only prosthetic technician.  Working with FUNPROBO Florencio has already made an additional 350 prosthetic legs in the past 6 years.  And every one of these patients is low-income amputees who would never otherwise have had the opportunity to walk again without crutches, canes, or wheelchairs.

But one month ago, tragedy struck again when Florencio went to a local hospital due to intense pains in his amputated leg.  The doctors there realized that he had a severe infection and they operated to try to clean it.  Unfortunately, the operation was not successful and two weeks later he returned again in great pain only to find out that they were now recommending that he get a fourth amputation.  This time they would remove his leg about his knee.  Florencio knew that being an amputee above the knee is three times as difficult as below the knee and so, with medical bills mounting, he decided to go back to his home city of Cochabamba for a second opinion. He was desperate to avoid that additional amputation.  At the hospital in Cochabamba, in late June 2017, they performed another surgery to try to clear the infection again.  Florencio was in the hospital for 10 days and just got out this past weekend.  Now it is a wait-and-see game to determine if this final surgery was a success or if he will really need another amputation.

Due to all this, Florencio’s medical bills have already exceeded $4000 and could easily reach $5000 with follow-on care.  If Florencio truly does need another amputation then his medical bills will possibly reach at least $7000, and probably even more.

It is for this reason that we have set a fundraising goal to help Florencio so that we give back to the man who has helped so many others.  We want to be sure that Florenico is well taken care of after he has spent a lifetime taking care of others. All additional funds, over and above his medical bills, will be used to build more prosthetic limbs for other low-income amputees.

Please help Florencio and help other Bolivian amputees to walk again. Donate here.


About Author

Matthew

Founder and president