January 5, 2005
Hospital staff salute captain, prosthetist who set up amputee clinic for Iraqi civilians in Baghdad
By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News Service
FLOWOOD, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center staff celebrated the patriotic spirit of one of their own, honoring Capt. Steve Lindsley for coming to the aid of Iraqi citizens who have lost limbs as a result of the wars that have ravaged that country over the years.
In his civilian life, Lindsley manages Methodist’s orthotics and prosthetic office in Monroe, Lousiana and serves as a certified prosthetist, someone who fabricates and fits artificial limbs.
So when he was deployed to Baghdad with the Mississippi National Guard’s 112th Military Police Battalion out of Canton, Lindsley’s heart went out to the many people he saw who were disabled by amputations. “Most either had never had a prosthesis or had one that was old and broken,” he said.
Realizing he had the skills to improve their lives, Lindsley proposed the idea of providing a free prosthetic clinic. That was the beginning Operation Restoration, a project that inspired the delivery of more than $500,000 in equipment, supplies and services for Iraqi amputees.
“The Army was incredibly supportive of the idea," said Chris Wallace, director of Methodist Orthotics and Prosthetics. "They agreed to transport equipment to Steve and allowed specified time away from his regular duties as a logistics officer to seek out candidates who needed the service."
Methodist Rehabilitation Center asked prosthetic component suppliers such as Otto Bock of Minneapolis, Bulldog Tools of Ohio and Charles Kornegay of Georgia to donate equipment for the clinic. The hospital also donated equipment and parts and worked with the other manufacturers for additional donations.
“The manufacturers we worked with were all overwhelmingly generous, especially Otto Bock,” said Wallace. “They were by far the largest donor. Also, Fed Ex stepped in after the first big shipment and provided space on their flights to Baghdad for equipment we shipped over later. I don’t know that we would have been able to pull this off without the support of all these companies and agencies. They all chipped in to offset the costs of providing these devices for the Iraqi civilians.”
Lindsley, with the assistance of fellow Army personnel and local Iraqi citizens, treated 61 patients, while stationed in Baghdad. The majority of his patients were below knee amputees. Twelve of their patients were double amputees.
Lindsley came home on Jan. 4, so his partner in the clinic, Sgt. Chris Cummings, will keep the clinic going until the summer of 2005. “After that, we will hand over the equipment and patient load to some locals who have been training with us,” Lindsley said. “The plan is to enhance an orthotics clinic at a local hospital and allow them to care for prosthetic patients also.”
Lindsley believes in the mission of the U.S. military and is proud to know he was able to complete the mission his government sent him to do, along with the completion of his personal mission.
“I could go on and on with stories of people we have treated,” he said as he recalls the various patients ranging from a tank commander who lost both his legs in combat in the Iran-Iraq War to a 14-year old boy who was so excited to be able to walk again, he walked a couple of miles as soon as he was fitted with his new limb. “The spirit of the patients is incredible,” Lindsley said.
Methodist Orthotics and Prosthetics, a division of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Miss., was one of the first sites in the nation to fit amputees with the Otto Bock C-Leg—the world’s first completely microprocessor-controlled artificial leg. The division is recognized by the American Board of Certification as a center of excellence.
Captain Steve Lindsley fits an Iraqi child for a prosthetic leg. Lindsley, is the clinical manager and a certified prosthetist in the Monroe, La. office of Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s orthotics and prosthetics division.
Mark Adams, president and CEO of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Miss., presents a certificate of appreciation to Captain Steve Lindsley, a logistics officer for the Mississippi National Guard's 112th Military Police Battalion from Canton, Miss. who worked with the hospital to establish an clinic for Iraqi civilian amputees in Baghdad.