First Bionic Arm Given To British Soldier
Kat Higgins, Sky News Online
A soldier who lost his arm in a grenade attack in Afghanistan has become the first military amputee to be fitted with a bionic arm.
Corporal Andrew Garthwaite of the Queen’s Royal Lancers lost the limb in September in a rocket-propelled grenade attack that killed another soldier.
The 23-year-old was fitted with the device at the Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak Hospitals in Birmingham.
He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS): “When I first got hit and was in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital I was thinking ‘oh God this is it, I can’t ride my bike again’
“I was thinking of everything I couldn’t do. But then the prosthetist came from Headley Court to measure me for a new arm.
“He said: ‘We’ve got this new arm which will work for you and in the future there’s an operation called Target Nerve Reinnervation you will be able to receive – it won’t be as good as a normal arm but it will be the next best thing.’
“That put a bit of light in my face. Now, since I’ve got the first stage of it I’m a lot happier.”
Cpl Garthwaite controls the arm’s movements by using muscles in his chest and back.
His pectoral muscles can be used to pick something up and his back muscles to put it down again.
He says he has had to learn to be careful with the pressure of the hand, which can easily smash an egg or be painful for anyone he shakes hands with.
But he told BFBS he had adapted well to his new arm and is still going through rehabilitation.
Cpl Garthwaite’s progress will no doubt give hope to the hundreds of other military personnel who have lost limbs fighting for their country.
He said he was honoured to be the first person in the military to get this arm.
“It’s great – I mean I’m gutted I lost my arm but I’m just thankful there’s something out there,” he said.
For the report on Sky click here
For the report and VIDEO on BFBS click here