Patient Stories   COPE Patients ~ Somchith Sengsavanth

16 March 2016,  Provincial Rehabilitation Centre, Luang Prabang

Mrs. Somchith Sengsavath, age 60
Pak Seang Village, Luang Prabang District, Luang Prabang Province
In 1970, when she was 14 years old, Mrs. Somchith’s family was relocated from their small village to a refuge camp in Luang Prabang. Villages were being evacuated to protect the people from the cluster bombs that were falling across Laos. One day, she and a few friends decided to go back to their village, 20 km away, to see if it was safe to return there. Along the way, she stepped on a landmine.  
When she regained consciousness in the hospital, she found out that her friends had carried her until they found a car that could transport her to the hospital. Her leg could not be saved, and she remained in the hospital for three months after the amputation. At just 14 years old, she felt helpless and depressed. She had just finished primary school and had hoped to continue her education, but that was impossible with her disability. She became homebound, with only crutches to help her walk short distances.  
Two years later, Mrs. Somchith heard about CMR in Vientiane.  She was able to travel there in 1972 and received her first prosthetic, a metal and leather device that dramatically improved her life. She has been receiving CMR’s and COPE’s services for over 40 years and has lost count of how many devices she has had over the years. With the support from CMR and COPE, Mrs. Somchith has had a full and happy life. She is married and has four children, all of whom have good educations. Her husband works for the agriculture ministry, and she runs a small shop. She is grateful that she received her first prosthesis at such a young age.  It helped her to have the confidence to open her shop. She is thankful to the COPE, CMR and Mobile Clinic staffs for all the support they have given her over the years.