• U.S.

Medicine: Improvised Bone Bank

1 minute read

Olivia Holguin’s legs had been useless from birth; she had a twisted wrist and a deformed hand. At 30, she seemed hopelessly crippled. But early this year, Orthopedic Surgeon S. Perry Rogers of El Paso amputated her legs and got ready to fit artificial limbs. Since El Paso has no bone bank, Dr. Rogers (with the patient’s permission) kept the amputated bones in his food freezer.

Dr. Rogers got a chance to draw on his improvised bone bank when he was called in to treat two little girls, Martha Arellano, 7, and Lily Mendoza, 6, who have tuberculosis of the spine. Dr. Rogers used sections of bone from Olivia Holguin’s legs to strengthen the little girls’ vertebrae. Walking well on her new legs (she used neither crutches nor cane), Olivia Holguin went to Southwestern General Hospital to pay a visit to the children she had helped to mend. Last week, both youngsters went home.

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