MEXICO – the orthopedist who with the prosthesis brings smile and self-confidence to the less fortunate

David M. Puckett, knows what it means to give someone a helping hand, literally. He is a Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist. His profession is to fit people with artificial limbs and orthopedic braces.


Yet, Puckett more than assists people in being able to function "normally"--he helps people establish or reestablish their self-image and self-confidence.


"The number one thing in the U.S. is to reestablish 'wholeness,' to help restore a healthy and positive self-image and restore functionality," Puckett explained.

Every six to eight weeks, Puckett and one to three of his colleagues travel to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. There, they partner with several hospitals to provide indigent patients with artificial limbs and orthopedic braces for free. "Up to a couple of months ago, it was just me that was traveling to Mexico providing the care," said Puckett.

The people they serve are in desperate need and many live in extreme poverty. Aside from the ministry of Puckett and his colleagues, these people have almost "zero hope" of ever affording, much less attaining this kind of quality medical assistance.

David dreamt of helping people in this way when he was only a boy and for the first time he visited Yucatàn as a voluntary. Stricken by poverty and physical difficulties in which most of the people lived, he promised himself to specialize in orthopedics and prosthesis to go back to help.

In 1999 in Savannah (Georgia), where he lives, he opened the “Positive Image Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc.” (PIPO Inc.), an orthopedic clinic specialized in promoting a positive self-image despite ones disability, to guarantee the highest quality of services at fair rates. In a very short time thanks to the first profits, Pucket founded also the “PIPO Missions Inc.-Hope for the Helpless”, a nonprofit organization that makes new prosthesis and withdraws old ones in all the USA to reuse them as spare parts.


"Things are a 'little' different in Mexico," Puckett explained. "If you lose a limb [or are born with a deformity], you become a castaway, you have no identity and are rejected by the village. You are seen as a stigma to society. You either stay in your hut or go out in front of the cathedral and beg. No one will hire you--you don't have any positive value in that society."


Puckett is also eager to have other professionals in the field join him in this unique ministry. "We hope to get firmly established in Southeastern Mexico as a recognized medical mission," he said. "We're about $7,500 short of establishing a part-time home base in Merida."


Currently, Puckett treats people wherever he can--in their huts, at a motel or even on the street. "Our goals are to have a more permanent place, where we can treat people, modify limbs and braces, and train nationals as technicians.