Amputees in developing nations face profound challenges, and addressing them takes more than good intentions. A Canadian prosthetist shares his experiences.
The image that springs to mind when most people hear the word pirate is that of the traditional bearded sailor, hook-handed, peg-legged, and eye-patched. Although injuries sustained from cannon fire and sword fights did often result in the ship’s cook amputating a sailor’s infected limb to save his life (using rum as an anesthetic), he most often died from infection after the amputation surgery. Oddly enough, few pirates were actual amputees; yet the Golden Age of Piracy depicting weather-beaten, leather-skinned amputees is still the stuff great seafaring stories are made of. Given this, you’ll still find many a Jack Sparrow if you go hunting in the right places.