Ed's Prostheses by Tom Halverson
August of 2000 I learned of the American-Canadian Mt.
Everest Expedition, and we at Hanger started work on
Edís prostheses the following month.
had learned from Edís previous trip to Mt. McKinley
what type of problems we would face. First, the cold
temperature is an issue. We knew we could not put the
heating element in the carbon fiber rigid socket
because it would require too large a heater and too
much power; the heat had to be in the liners.
nice thing about working for the largest prosthetic
and orthotic company in the U.S. is that we have a lot
of resources. I called Kevin Carroll, vice president
of prosthetics for Hanger P&O and asked for his
thoughts on heated liners. He put me in touch with the
Seattle Orthopedic Group, Inc. who was working on a
new prosthetic liner that wasnít on the market yet.
I explained what we wanted and that Ed needed them for
the Mt. Everest expedition. They were excited about
being on board. Early in 2001 we received the first
liners. After fitting them, it was determined that
custom liners needed to be fabricated.
all this was going on with the liners, we also wanted
to change Edís prosthetic feet. We contacted
Springlite in February regarding a more flexible and
lighter foot design. We then worked closely with Eric
Rubin, an engineer from Springlite, who sent us two
prototypes for Ed to try. Ed loved the new feet and
was ready to put them to the test. He has worn these
feet since February and has put them to the test
skiing, hiking and biking. Unfortunately, Ed fell 15
feet off a rock face of a hotel in Salt Lake City. The
fall broke the three Singer socket attachments but it
didnít damage the feet at all. This foot design is
called the Luxon Max, and weíve taken four of them
with us on this Everest expedition.
Paul LaBarr and Jeremy Adelson, two engineers from the
Seattle Orthopedic Group, put in long hours trying to
determine how to put the heating elements in the
mineral-oil-based rubber liners without affecting the
properties of the rubber. After numerous phone calls
and dozens of liners, we decided to take four
non-heated 6mm, four heated 6mm and two heated 8mm
liners with us. These liners will be heated with three
D-cell Lithium thiol chloride batteries from Spectrum,
which are not affected by the cold.
started fitting Ed with test sockets in June. One
might think that we would want to start the fitting
process long before June since our Everest departure
date was August 9. We waited until then because, when
Ed starts training and eating poorly due to the added
stress of putting together the expedition, he loses
weight. So fitting him closer to the departure date
was the wise choice.
McCannell, my right hand man, is the prosthetic
technician who fabricated several test sockets, then
laminated and set up six new prostheses. They were
laminated with strategically placed carbon fiber and
Kevlar for maximum strength and minimum weight.
Weíre taking three sets of prostheses with us to
Everest. These sockets are of different sizes or
volume to accommodate for the atrophy of up to 25
pounds of weight loss possible on the expedition. All
in all, Edís leg bag weighs 54 pounds, not including
the legs heís wearing or the batteries.
have many people to thank for Edís legs ó Seattle
Orthopedic Group, Inc., Springlite, the entire
corporate staff at Hanger P&O, the media relations
division as well as the entire staff of Hanger P&O
Duluth and Hibbing, Minnesota. Everyone lent a hand
and will continue to do so while Iím away on this
work for the greatest orthotic and prosthetic company
in the world. No other company would have sent me to
Tibet to make sure Ed has no problems on the lower
elevations of the mountain.
you all very much.
Edís prosthetist ó and a climber
on the Expedition