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NEW LIMBS BUILT FROM DRAINPIPES; Surgeon helps refugee camp amputees.

Byline: Anuji Varma HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

A MIDLAND surgeon has helped more than 100 amputees in war-torn Syria by fitting artificial limbs - made from plastic drainpipes. Orthopaedic surgeon Mr Viquar Qurashi and a team of doctors spent ten days in a refugee camp moulding prosthetic limbs and rubber feet.

A Turkish businessman donated the pipes, which were melted down and moulded against a cast of the amputated leg.

The PS30 prosthetics - a fraction of the cost of producing the UK's high-tech versions - were fitted into place with metal pins and leather straps.

Mr Qurashi, based at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, admitted the limbs were not perfect but were a God-send to his patients.

"A prosthetic costing up to PS1,000 in Britain will be of little use to someone who doesn't have the money, technology and tools to maintain it," he said.

"We can make limbs from drainpipe material for PS30 and provide them free to those in need."

Assisted by a team of six technicians from Pakistan, Mr Qurashi helped men, women and children who lost limbs during the twoyear conflict that has so far claimed 70,000 lives.

A member of the Associate Parliamentary Limb Loss Group, he has fitted more than 3,000 limbs over the past seven years to amputees in his home country of Pakistan.

He travelled to Syria at the request of the Syrian British Medical Society and two Syrian colleagues at Russells Hall.

"All I need to fit prosthetic limbs are pipes, plaster of paris, nuts and bolts - and rubber to create feet," added Mr Qurashi.

"A group of ten volunteers and training technicians from Syria have been selected to take up this job in future."

In 2005, he set up the Naya Qadam Trust, a non-profit organisation of volunteer overseas Pakistani doctors, which helps fund the artifi-cial limb materials.

He hopes to take the limbs to other countries such as Haiti, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Vietnam.

CAPTION(S):

Changing lives: Black Country doctor Viquar Qurashi in Syria.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 14, 2013
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