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Ben wearing his Michelangelo prosthetic hand holding a lego globe.
Ben wearing his Michelangelo prosthetic hand holding a lego globe.
Ben wearing his Michelangelo prosthetic hand holding a lego globe.

Ben's Michelangelo Story.

Ben Dodds - Sci-Fi Loving Film Buff Gets His Own ‘Luke Skywalker’ Hand After Tragic Accident Changes His Life Forever.

Ben Dodds is a husband, sci-fi devotee, and fitness enthusiast originally from Croydon, London.

Adoring the film industry and being a self-confessed “geek” Ben has worked for Paramount Studios as a Production Technician for ten years. In November of 2016, after seeing the torrential downpour outside, Ben’s life took a fateful turn when he decided to take the tram instead of biking to work as he usually does. This simple journey to work ended in tragedy when after entering a tunnel, the tram made a 90-degree turn and abruptly derailed after failing to slow down. In the process, Ben was ejected from his seat and suffered a severe crush injury to his right arm when the side of the tram carriage landed on him. Devastatingly people’s lives were lost, and others seriously injured due to the crash. Ben recalls being in and out of consciousness in the ambulance and was told that his arm was beyond saving.

After Ben's amputation above the elbow and the loss of his dominant hand, he had to get used to using his left hand for everyday tasks. “When I left the hospital, they recommended colouring books and Lego to help me learn to use my left hand," explained Ben. In March 2017, Ben went to the Dorset Orthopaedic (formerly Pace Rehabilitation) Amersham clinic for the first time, where he worked with prosthetist Hakim, physio Kat and occupational therapist Christa to evaluate different prosthetic solutions to help him return to everyday life. “Since my first meeting with the team at Amersham they've been great”, said Ben. “Always exploring with me what prosthetics I would need and putting me at the centre of all discussion. When the opportunity has arisen, I've been able to be part of the development and meet the companies that have provided elements of my arms to aid my knowledge and understanding within the prosthetic world.”

Ben was initially fitted with a body-powered prosthesis and sports arm and since then has undertaken successful myoelectric trials enabling him to wear the Michaelangelo hand, “When we began looking at the Michelangelo arm, initial discussions centred on the benefits of this hand for me, including how it works with sensors to generate signals, to enable me to use the hand to support me in everyday life.” From here, I then learnt how to generate the necessary signals in my arm and would practice this through a computer training program with help from my prosthetist and physio. Following this I was able to do a full trial of the Michelangelo and spend time with the Ottobock team developing the arm.”

Ben can now wear his prosthesis for up to seven hours a day and trains regularly to keep his core and shoulders strong. “My first impressions of the Michaelangelo were that it is brilliant, just using my left hand made everything a struggle but functionally having a “second hand” again made things a lot better for me day to day, especially cooking, playing video games and gardening.”

The Michelangelo hand has seven different gripping positions, enabling everyday movements such as turning pages of a book or typing on a keyboard, to become a natural part of your life. It has been designed to make the appearance and feel of the Michelangelo hand resemble a natural hand as closely as possible and its natural mode feature assumes a relaxed hand position when you relax the muscles.

The AxonWrist mechanical wrist can be flexed and extended as well as rotated inwards and outwards, helping to prevent unnatural compensating movements which in turn promotes a healthy body posture.

Suitable for everyday use, the prosthetic gloves have a multilayer structure and come in six shades. Coloured fibres on the inside simulate the natural vein structure of the human hand. A translucent prosthetic glove is available for those who want to show off their modern prosthesis.

The Michelangelo hand is available on the NHS England multi-grip hand policy. Introduced in August 2022, the NHS England multi-grip hand policy found the evidence supporting the use of multi-grip myoelectric controlled prosthetic hands to be beneficial, resulting in the approval of funding for people who meet the specified criteria.

Ben accredits adapting to his prostheses to his great attitude and love for technology. “I remember when I had my amputation, one of the first things I said to my wife was “I'm going to get a hand like Luke Skywalker now”, laughed Ben. Although enjoying success with his prosthesis, Ben acknowledges the hardship that comes with losing his arm. “It’s important to see the arm as a tool and not a replacement for your own arm. Stay as healthy as you can and look after your body, it will make using your prosthesis a whole lot easier.” In his spare time, Ben cycles and runs frequently, he recently took part in his first triathlon post-accident and hopes to take on more challenges in the future.


Available via NHS Funding

Man building with Lego using his Michelangelo multi-grip prosthetic hand from Ottobock.

Discover the Michelangelo

An amputee poses happily

Living with an arm amputation

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