Wednesday, 12. July 2017
“Living life to the fullest again”
Help for Nick, age 11: Julia Bötticher, a master O&P professional, shares a story from the field
Nick Deike, age 11, is a bright, motivated and fun-loving boy who is already using his new myoelectric arm prosthesis for a wide range of purposes in everyday life. In June 2014, Nick broke his upper arm during a game of football at school. You could call it “a stroke of luck”, because this broken bone may well have saved his life.
When swelling occurred in the area around the broken bone after several weeks and Nick gradually became unable to move his fingers, he was diagnosed with a rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue tumour) in his upper arm. The rhabdomyosarcoma was an aggressive type which very rarely occurs in children. As the cancer was growing very quickly, Nick’s entire arm was soon amputated at the shoulder joint.
But Nick is tough. He has a loving family at his side to care for him. They stand by each other as a team and get through this terrible time together. It’s incredible to hear how Nick strengthens his determination and keeps fighting.
He participates in activities at the hospital on his own initiative; he likes taking part and enjoys doing so. He is proud to tell how a famous footballer visited the hospital and about the trip that the entire family took to Legoland (with costs covered by a parents’ association).
The family was told about options for an arm prosthesis just a short time after the amputation. This led to Nick attending a consultation session at med-tech company Ottobock in Duderstadt in December 2014. During the consultation, it was determined that Nick met all of the requirements needed to control a myoelectric arm prosthesis.
Nick has since received his second myoelectric arm prosthesis in April 2017. Not only do the functions of the prosthesis represent progress for Nick, the design is a real stand-out, too. Thanks to a free-swinging joint in the shoulder, he can swing both arms as he normally would when walking. However, the shoulder joint can still be locked in the forward position, for example so that he can eat and drink as usual. Abduction (lifting the arm away from the body to the side) is also possible.
But for Nick, the best and most important function offered by the prosthesis is likely its electronically powered elbow joint. This lets him flex or extend his forearm using muscle signals. And not only can he control his elbow via muscle signals, but also his hand, which can be rotated inwards and outwards, opened and closed, whenever he gives the muscle command to do so.
Nick can now enjoy his hobbies to the fullest again as well. He loves riding bike, enjoys skiing trips to the Harz mountains and is an active member of the youth fire brigade.
We’re happy to have been able to help Nick find his way back into his old life.
Julia Bötticher, July 2017