Diem was on a road trip to purchase merchandise for her vending business when her motorbike was caught in the middle of a horrific collision that would alter the course of her life.
Stuck in between two oncoming buses, I felt my right leg being crushed under the weight of the impact before I lost consciousness.
In a country with more than 45 million registered motorbikes (and a population of 92 million), Diem’s story is unfortunately far too common. Motorbikes offer cheap transportation but little protection during collisions. Traffic accidents, particularly ones involving motorcycles, kill or injure tens of thousands of people across the country every year, particularly on the bustling streets of Saigon. These accidents are the leading cause of limb amputation in Vietnam.
Luckily, Diem, at the time only 25 years old, was brought to a hospital within the hour and received an above-the-knee amputation on her right leg. That was twelve years ago. Since then, she has received her prosthetic care from Le Nam Clinic, a local clinic that works closely with Penta.
However, due to the great financial burden of the prosthetic care, made worse by the lack of sufficient healthcare insurance and her inability to return to vending to make money, Diem has struggled to find decent quality prosthetic devices even with the support of her prosthetist. She attests that none of her previous devices fit comfortably and that her stump would become irritated whenever she had to walk long distances.
When Le Nam began working with Penta, Diem was finally able to receive a light, comfortable, and durable limb at an affordable cost. “I feel really comfortable with this new prosthesis compared to the previous ones I had,” she enthused. “It is a great and positive impact on my life.”
- The impact, she notes, is both physical and psychological.
- “I feel more confident when I walk on the street. It’s like I’m walking like a normal person”
- Diem now spends most of her time at home, but not idly. With her newfound comfort and mobility, she has made her business much closer to herself for convenience, opening a little shop from home that sells various goods.