Ben was a very promising rugby player...
Ben was a very promising rugby player with the Marist Club in Samoa. He had recently been selected for the emerging Manu Samoa youth squad. Late in January 2010, during a training run for an up-coming Marist tour of New Zealand, Ben suffered a horrific neck fracture which left him as a life-long tetraplegic.
He has no feeling below his upper chest, and can only move his neck and head. The Samoan Health service is not equipped to take care of a tetraplegic. They have no wheelchair available for him, and even if one was available, it would be a manual which would still leave him dependent on someone being around to push it at the time.
|Ben and friends before his Accident|
|They also have no hospital bed of any kind available for him to take to his home. He recently had a short time in his home, but contracted a severe infection from his catheter insertion and had to return to the hospital. As the conditions are very stretched in the hospital, as well as the severely infected catheter insertion which needed corrective surgery, he has also developed fever and skin infections, and has had internal bleeding. These constant struggles have left him lying in despair.|
One big danger is bed sores and other infections. With no proper electronic bed for his care, this danger is greatly increased. In the hot climate, once he contracts bed sores, they would be extremely difficult to heal, and can easily become septic.
Ben is a very deserving young man. He has to fight off pits of despair, yet at the same time remains extremely grateful for any help that is given to him. For instance, when offered to buy him a radio to listen to, he politely declined, saying that he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.
Invacare’s very own Michelle Turner read into Ben’s story and initiated action on how Invacare could help Ben in his situation. Invacare donated several products for example a Power Wheelchair, Bed, Commode and much more to the value of NZ$30,000. Since receiving the items Ben has been up and about in the Powerchair we donated the day it arrived. He is using the hoist and is loving the bed.
Unfortunately Ben's injury was a higher level than what was first thought, and if he was in NZ he would have had a head controlled chair but in Samoa this is not possible. Ben will still use the Powerchair but it will have to be attendant controlled.
We are now looking at sorting out a Solara for Ben to have as his everyday chair. He is bed ridden for the next month while a pressure area heals and then he is under-going more surgery.
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