Debra A. Latour, M Ed, OTR/L, has worked at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield, Mass for 13 years. Before she was employed by¬†the hospital, she was a patient. Her parents sought treatment at Shriners¬†when she was a toddler for an upper limb deficiency.
For many years, Debi used the traditional body-powered prosthesis which is activated by a figure-of-eight or a figure-of-nine harness system, using the opposite shoulder as the power source. Many users of this system complain of discomfort from the harness, typically the rubbing on the skin by the harness, asymmetry of the shoulders, pain in the opposite shoulder area, difficulty while performing tasks with both limbs, and diminished physical appearance. When Debi began to¬†experience her own problems with the usual harness system, she relied on her 30 years of experience¬†to solve her issues.
As a Senior Occupational Therapist,¬†Debi knows exactly how to help patients develop skills needed to live as independently as possible and to help improve the quality of their lives. In an effort to achieve these goals for¬†patients with an upper limb deficiency, she invented a new and improved way of harnessing a body-powered prosthesis called the Ipsilateral Scapular Cutaneous Anchor system (the ‚ÄúAnchor‚ÄĚ). Her design eliminates the usual harnessing, often a source of complaint and one reason why children reject prostheses.
Debi submitted a paper on the ‚ÄúAnchor‚ÄĚ to the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists which was accepted for presentation at the 2011 Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium in Orlando, FL.¬† Presentations such as this serve to inform professionals in the community of new and creative solutions in treatment and also promote Shriners Hospitals for Children as a center of innovation and excellence in treatment, research and education.
While attending the symposium, Debi was interviewed by a reporter for O&P Business News. ¬†She provides a wonderful account of how her invention and her blog, Single-Handed Solutions,¬†materialized.¬†Read the article¬†here.