Orchard Park, N.Y., July 30, 2019 – How can one donation of clear plastic sheets better the lives of countless facial burn victims in eight Latin American countries? In the hands of volunteer trainers from Physicians for Peace, a global nonprofit that trains surgeons in the world’s most under-resourced places, its impact is sure to be both widespread and profound.
Curbell Plastics, one of the nation’s top distributors of plastic sheet, rod, tube, tapes, and fabricated parts, recently teamed up with Physicians for Peace to provide custom-cut, 0.060″-thick sheets of VIVAK® PETG — a clear, tough, and FDA-compliant plastic that, when heated, is easy to form by hand — for a mid-July burn mask fabrication workshop in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. This session was part of a week-long, hands-on training that covered a broad range of care techniques and brought together 18 occupational therapists from Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
Facial burn victims wear these masks during rehabilitation after surgery to help minimize long-term scarring. The masks keep the patient’s skin soft and flat during the healing process, and are worn 18-20 hours a day for six to 24 months, until the scars stabilize. PETG is widely used for this and other orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) applications because of its outstanding optical clarity. This allows therapists to see the skin beneath it and determine when adjustments need to be made.
The need for such rehabilitation therapy is dire in Latin America, particularly in Colombia, due largely to the widespread epidemic of acid attacks against women. As Reuters reported late last year, Colombia has one of the highest per-capita rates of these permanently disfiguring assaults, often perpetrated by jealous ex-boyfriends or husbands.
“We are honored to partner with Physicians for Peace and help them in their mission,” said Kyle Terras, Business Manager for the Curbell O&P team, the leading provider of plastic sheets, transfer papers, and fabrication supplies to the O&P community nationwide. “What these volunteer trainers are doing is incredibly compassionate, important, and impactful. When you consider that the skills from this burn mask fabrication training in Bogota will spread from these 18 volunteers to benefit patients across Latin America — plus some will go on to train other therapists in their home countries — the impact this organization can make through just one week is exponential. We’re thrilled we could contribute to that.”
“We have ongoing projects throughout Latin America in the realm of burn care surgery,” said Leslie Toledo, a Program Director at Physicians for Peace. Toledo points to the Physicians for Peace motto — “Teach one, heal many” — in noting that this iteration in Colombia was part of a new approach to training and certifying the next wave of trainers in the region, and that more were on deck for Honduras and Panama. “This is an extra step forward in the sustainability of our efforts, so we’re really excited about that.”
The July 2019 donation marks the second time Curbell Plastics has contributed PETG to Physicians for Peace. “I’m proud to say, I expect we will continue to grow our partnership with Physicians for Peace,” Terras said.
About Curbell Plastics, Inc.
Curbell Plastics grew into one of the nation’s top-five plastic materials suppliers by investing for the long term and focusing foremost on the needs of its customers — a strategy that has set the company apart since its founding in 1942.
Curbell supplies performance plastics — durable and lightweight materials that minimize energy consumption and add value to countless commercial and industrial applications — to thousands of businesses, entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. The company also offers plastic film, adhesives, sealants, tapes, prototyping and tooling materials, and fabricated plastic parts. Its innovative services include a nationwide team of material experts to help customers solve engineering and application challenges.
Curbell Plastics, a privately held subsidiary of Curbell, Inc., has 18 locations nationwide and is based in Orchard Park, New York. It has ISO 9001 certification for nine of its locations and its corporate headquarters, and it maintains ITAR and EAR compliance company-wide.