O&P Library > Orthotics and Prosthetics > 1959, Vol 13, Num 3 > pp. 86 - 88

Orthotics and ProstheticsThis journal was digitally reproduced with permission from the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA).

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The Joe Kadlec Story

Paul Lelmkuehler, C.P. *

The story of Joe Kadlec of Cleveland is important to the limb and brace profession, illustrating as it does the progress that has been made in our field over a period of twelve years. Joe, a double A/K amputee, tried twice unsuccessfully to wear two above knee prostheses. Refusing to give up, he tried a third time. The third try was successful.

Joe's bout with artificial limbs began on February 16, 1929. He was thirteen years old then. Involved in an automobile accident which pinned him against a building, the amputation of his left leg was necessary. For some time afterwards, he wore the above-knee, shoulder-strap type of prosthesis successfully, without the use of a cane. Then, on December 17, 1945, his right leg was amputated above the knee, due to poor circulation and swelling of the right leg.

Joe had an 11-inch long stump on the right side and a 9-inch long stump on the left side and was fitted with two above-knee pelvic belt type of prosthetic appliances, incorporating pelvic joints that had 4-way motion. Joe tried for about six months during late 1946 and early 1947 to wear these limbs with the aid of crutches. He finally gave up the effort.

The Ohio State Bureau of Rehabilitation came into the picture in November 1949. After an analysis, I decided that the double action pelvic joints were causing considerable trouble, the bands were flexible enough so that they would not stay the proper shape to fit his pelvis. Two new pelvic joints and metal bands were installed. For a period of a few months, Joe tried again to use these artificial limbs. He reported that they were only slightly better than before and wore them only on special occasions, perhaps three to six times a year. Otherwise, he walked on his hands, doing auto repair work around his home, and managing a variety of odd jobs in his home. This was the picture between 1949 and 1956.

Fig. 1

Fortunately, Joe belongs to a Slovak Organization, which noticing that he wasn't using his prosthetic appliances, referred him once again to the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. This time, the Bureau was able to send Joe to the Amputee Clinic at University Hospital for analysis.

The clinic decided that the Bock-type friction locking knees might prove helpful to Joe Kadlec. The clinic wrote the prescription, the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation issuing authorization to cover the costs.

The Amputee Clinic also decided that Joe should have supervised training in the use of his appliances; and this was provided by the Vocational Guidance and Rehabilitation Services, formerly known as the Cleveland Rehabilitation Center.

In November 1956, Joe received the original prostheses with the new Bock knees installed, in the unfinished condition. They were lined up properly and fastened together, but not rawhided or painted, since we expected to be dealing in corrections. During the 40-hours of training he received in the use of these appliances, he was taught how to get up from the floor, how to walk up and down stairs and ramps, how to fall properly, and how to master all types of activities in daily routines that are dependent upon legwork.

Joe reports that he learned how to master activities he thought impossible for any amputee. Three minor adjustments were carried out during 1957; and, finally, in May 1958, he brought the limbs in for finishing.

Since then, he has used the limbs almost everyday, although he does not wear them continuously each day. He finds that it is still easier to do motor work on cars without the limbs. Whenever he leaves his home-morning, afternoon, or evening-he wears his artificial limbs. He reports that he has been wearing them more and more as time passes, and considers the possibility of wearing them full time now that they are finished.

Joe feels that the Bock knees have answered his major problem. He is also enthusiastic about the special training he received in the use of these appliances. He says that he can now stand up and relax and put on a jacket, without the fear of falling he knew when wearing the standard, single-bolt knees. With the Bock knees, he reports he can put his weight on the sockets, relaxing without fear of the knees buckling. Prior to receiving the Bock knees, he would be soaked in perspiration by the time he had put on his prostheses and continued dressing. Now he manages these activities in a relaxed manner that offsets nervous strain.

Today, at 43 years of age, Joe Kadlec weighs 114 pounds. Weightwise, he doesn't have the disadvantage of many amputees. During the past years, he has attended sports events at Cleveland Stadium and the Public Auditorium. The stadium has ramps with 20 degree angles; at the auditorium, the ramps are about 15 degrees. He goes to theatres, walks on rough terrain and city streets, and has done three miles of walking about Brookside Park Zoo in

Cleveland. He has traveled to Pennsylvania; recently, he served as Best Man at a wedding.

While he can walk about his house without a cane, he prefers two canes when walking out of doors.

I would like to point out that Joe realizes that his first two failures with A/K limbs were not due to any feeling that it was impossible to use such limbs successfully; in fact, a close friend of his has been walking on two above-knee limbs with shoulder-strap control for the past 30 years.

Joe Kadlec's case required that special help that is becoming more and more the heart of our profession. In spite of the fact that Joe had been unsuccessful in wearing two above knee prostheses over a twelve year period, the combination of the Bock knees, the analysis and decisions of the Amputee Clinic at University Hospital, the financial assistance of the BVR, and the special training at Vocational Guidance and Rehabilitation Services all assisted in overcoming his problem. Beyond that, there had to be hope and faith on Joe's part, and patience and determination to try a third time. In our profession, these are the basic ingredients of success.

O&P Library > Orthotics and Prosthetics > 1959, Vol 13, Num 3 > pp. 86 - 88

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