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Mike bebionic Prosthetic Arm
Mike bebionic Prosthetic Arm
Mike bebionic Prosthetic Arm

Mike's bebionic Story.

Amputee retiree leads a full and active retirement thanks to his “game changing” bionic hand.

Mike, 67 from Essex, spent over 30 years in his nursing career as a learning disability and mental health nurse. He and his wife, who was also a nurse, led very busy lives juggling their careers and family life.

In 2011 when Mike was 54, he was diagnosed with Spindle cell sarcoma in his left hand. Initially the cancer was only found in one finger, so he went through an amputation to have the affected finger removed. However, not long after the amputation they found another tumour in his hand which was starting to spread up his arm. To ensure that the cancer didn’t spread further the decision was made for Mike to have his left arm amputated below the elbow.

“I had discussed accessing a prosthetic hand with my surgeon, I thought it would be better to have something than relying just with my one hand”, Mike continued, “it was life changing not to have two hands. I started with a cosmetic hand but I quickly progressed to using a hook. Two years after getting the hook I had progressed enough to use a Myoelectric hand,” said Mike. Mike’s Myoelectric hand had a single grip function where the forefinger and middle finger moved using electrical signals generated by Mike’s own muscles, allowing him to grasp objects.

In 2017 Mike was offered a trial of the bebionic multi grip hand. “I was able to trial the hand for 2 weeks and I got on really well with it. I noticed how much more I was able to use the prosthesis and how many more things I could do.” Unfortunately, at that time there was a lack of evidence to support prescribing a multi grip hand on the NHS, so once his trial had finished Mike went back to using his myoelectric hand.

It wasn’t until 2023 that Mike saw an update on an NHS users forum which explained that there was a new Multi-grip Hand Policy being introduced on NHS England. This new policy supports the use of multi -grip hands for adults and children with upper limb amputation or congenital limb difference. “I contacted my prosthetist straight away and expressed an interest in trialling a multi-grip hand” enthused Mike. “As the policy was so new, the prosthetists were being trained on the different products available on the policy, so I volunteered to help with the training. I was given a trial unit of the bebionic multi grip hand which I had for 4 weeks.”

With 14 different grips and hand positions, the bebionic artificial hand is designed to make day-to-day activities easier whilst the individual motors in each finger allows precise control of the hand in a natural, coordinated way. “Straight away I could see the benefits of using this hand, getting dressed was much easier,” said Mike. “There was less static, so the clothing doesn’t stick to it, it seems like such a small thing but that made an immediate improvement to my life.”

Following his successful trial of the hand, Mike received his own bebionic and wrist rotator just before Christmas, 2023. “I use it as much as possible and test what I can do with it” Mike continued, “I’ve found I can do most things and for other things I need a little more practice. I’m currently working on pouring a drink from the bottle and bringing the bottle back to the counter without having to move my shoulder and elbow into an unnatural position. I enjoy setting myself challenges and mastering new movements.”

In the short space of time that Mike has had his bebionic hand his confidence has grown massively. “It’s completely changed my lifestyle; I can go to any place and function just like anyone else with two hands. I go to the supermarket and I can hold the trolly and take items off the shelf,” remarked Mike, “and going to a buffet is completely different now as I can hold the plate with my bebionic and use my other hand to serve the food.”

With his active role in the community on the church parochial, his involvement in many local clubs and his volunteering work, Mike is busier now than before he retired, but he still manages to find time to watch his beloved Ipswich Town! So, what’s next for Mike? “I’m looking forward to buying myself some shoes with shoelaces. I learnt to tie laces using my bebionic but I don’t own any shoes with laces so it will be nice to treat myself,” amused Mike.

“We are always learning, not matter what we do. Life is a learning process and I’m enjoying each challenge,” Mike concluded.


Available via NHS Funding

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