A young boy grins outside a rehabilitation center in Cambodia

After motorcycle accident, two life-saving amputations

After losing his right leg in a motorcycle accident, Kuch, 8, quickly learned to walk again with an artificial limb made for him by Humanity & Inclusion.

After visiting family in Cambodia’s Takeo province in April 2019, Kuch and his parents crammed onto the seat of their motorcycle for the long drive home. Motorcycles are a common method of transportation throughout Cambodia. 

Suddenly, there was a loud bang, then silence. A speeding motorcyclist hit them head-on. In the blink of an eye, their lives had changed forever. 

Cambodia has the third-highest motorcycle death rate in the world. In 2019, 30% of new patients at Humanity & Inclusion’s physical rehabilitation center in Kampong Cham were victims of road accidents.

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Two life-saving amputations

As Kuch’s parents regained consciousness, they realized with horror that their son was in a critical condition. His right leg was broken and caught in a wheel. For young Kuch, this marked the start of a terrible ordeal. After being pulled from the wreckage, he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The next day, he was transferred to a hospital in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh. When they arrived, Kuch’s parents were shocked to learn he needed an amputation to save his life.  

Six months later, Kuch’s family visited Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center so the boy could be fitted with a prosthetic leg. Unfortunately, Kuch’s stump became red and infected, and he experienced high fevers. When medical staff examined him, they made a disturbing discovery: unless Kuch had another amputation, he would likely develop sepsis. Kuch returned to the hospital in Phnom Penh, where he spent months in recovery and experienced a serious drop in morale.


Back to his old self

Once Kuch’s stump had healed and after numerous rehabilitation sessions helping to strengthen his muscles, Kuch was finally ready to be fitted with his prosthesis in June 2020. Determined to heal, Kuch enthusiastically practiced his walking exercises and became comfortable with his artificial leg in no time at all.

"After his leg was amputated, my son couldn’t walk anymore,” explains Kuch’s mother. “He even found it hard to use crutches and he couldn’t go far without getting tired. Everything was an effort. He even had trouble getting up when he bent to pick things up. And our house doesn't have a toilet, so we have to go outside. It was all really complicated for him. Fortunately, since he was fitted with his prosthesis, Kuch has changed a lot. He can help me with the housework, go shopping for food, visit and play with his friends and go to school.”

Kuch continues to visit the rehabilitation center, which is a 90-minute drive from his family’s home, for follow-up care and repairs to his prosthetic. Humanity & Inclusion donors cover the family’s food and transportation costs during these routine visits. The team also checks in with Kuch at home. Kuch will continue to receive new artificial limbs as he outgrows old ones.

"I would like to thank Humanity & Inclusion and donors for making it possible for my child to receive the help he has,” adds Kuch’s mother.

After months of waiting, Kuch returned to school, walking nearly a mile each way. He enjoys studying and making friends. 

"I love playing football with my friends,” Kuch says with a big grin on his face. “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor.”

Header image: A young boy named Kuch grins outside a rehabilitation center in Cambodia. Inline image: Kuch, whose right leg is amputated, sits on a padded table at a rehabilitation center in Cambodia. He's wearing a mask. Copyright: Stephen Rae/HI

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