Artificial bootees, Roehampton, England, 1965-1975

1965-1975 in Unknown place and Roehampton
Hanger Orthopaedic Group, Inc

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Pair of stout leather bootees supplied to a Thalidomide affected child with lower limb phocomelia, to protect the prominent lateral malleoli when lower limbs were not being worn, thus allowing the child to shuffle about in or outside the house. Made by Hanger c.1970.

A child affected by the drug Thalidomide used these boots. Phocomelia is a condition where the long bones in the limbs fail to develop. This leaves the hands or feet attached close to the body. Thalidomide was given to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 1960s to ease morning sickness and aid sleep. The drug caused thousands of serious birth defects worldwide. Several hundred occurred in the UK. Babies were born with under-developed or missing limbs. The drug was withdrawn in 1962.

These bootees protected the exposed feet when artificial lower limbs were not worn. The child could move in or outside the house. Made by prosthetic limb manufacturer Hanger, these stout leather bootees are surprising light despite looking bulky.


Object Number:
leather, metal and plastic
overall (each): 215 mm x 145 mm x 235 mm, 1.12kg
Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust

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