MUNSTER, Ind. — After an accident shattered his prosthetic leg, a man and his pregnant wife desperate for help traveled from Georgia to Munster for a new one.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Rodney Porterfield and his wife, Francesca Porterfield, of Cornelia, Georgia, drove 12 hours to Munster on April 9 to visit Vikram Choudhary.
Choudhary first provided a free prosthetic leg to Rodney Porterfield in 2019. When he received another call from the Georgia ma in April, he said he would replace the leg at no charge.
“He called and said, ‘Vick, my leg is messed up pretty bad,’” Choudhary said. “I saw a photo and it looked shattered. I asked him if he could come out here and he said he still had no way to pay for a new one. I told him I’d help him for free and he and his pregnant wife traveled 12 hours here. I was worried about a travel ban so I told him to come sooner than later.”
Rodney Porterfield was at his construction job working with heavy machinery when his prosthetic leg fell off and was crushed by a dump truck.
“It was very stressful, and we didn’t know if the office was even open or if they’d be able to help,” Francesca Porterfield said. “To be able to get him in so quick, it was a blessing. Having that prosthetic gives him back his life and his confidence. Right now, he is the only one able to work since I am six months pregnant, so we rely on that income. Without that leg, it wouldn’t be possible.”
In May 2015, Rodney Porterfield was in a rollover crash in a remote part of Georgia that left his leg crushed. He was airlifted from the scene and he lost his right leg as a result of the injuries.
“Before, I hopped everywhere I went,” Rodney Porterfield said. “There was a lot of things I couldn’t do. I have a 12-year-old son who plays football and I couldn’t play catch with him before having to sit down after a few minutes. But now, this leg gave me everything I have.”
Choudhary said a friend in Ohio who knew of Porterfield’s situation reached out in September 2019. Though Porterfield was in need of a prosthetic, he was unable to raise enough funds to pay costs and did not have medical insurance. That month, Choudhary offered to provide Porterfield with a prosthetic and following a consultation, the Georgia man walked away with a new leg.
“It was amazing the first time I got the leg,” Rodney Porterfield said. “I didn’t want to ask but I didn’t have a choice. Vick asked, ‘How quick can you come here?’ He said, ‘My main goal is to make sure you never have to use crutches again.’”
Quickly returning to Georgia with his new leg the same day, Rodney Porterfield said he is glad to get back to work and looks forward to spending time with family.
“We love to go out hiking and before (the replacement) was very limited while I was using crutches,” Rodney Porterfield said. “Me and my son threw the football around this morning and it was amazing.”
For Choudhary, while difficult times are upon the nation, he said it is all the more reason to be compassionate.
“We are all part of this profession for a reason and this is one way we can help,” Choudhary said. “It is the least we can do in hard times like these.”