A first: NHS pays for Brit's bionic hand

Sept. 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM
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HULL, England, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A 33-year-old Brit, who lost his right arm and leg at age 13 when he was hit by a train, says National Health Services has outfitted him with a bionic hand.

Mike Swainger of Hull said he is the first in Britain to be equipped with a battery-powered hand, known as the "myo-electric bebionic3," paid for by the taxpayer-funded national healthcare system.

He said the artificial hand allows him to tie his own shoelaces and walk hand-in-hand with his 6-year-old daughter, The Daily Telegraph reported.

"The best thing was when my youngest child, Jodie, held the bionic hand in the street without batting an eyelid," Swainger told the Telegraph. "I knew what an incredible impact this would have and was desperate for a break. Having a bebionic hand is a complete life-changer."

The arm uses some of the most advanced medical technology to date. It consists of two electrodes in a socket, with one connected to his bicep and the other linked to his tricep. Electronic impulses from the muscles and nerve endings create a current, which triggers movement in the hand, Swainger said.

Swainger said if he tenses his bicep, the hand closes and if he tenses his tricep, it opens.

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