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Wisconsin resident finds hope after a work accident

A Sheboygan, Wisconsin man who lost his fingers in an industrial accident ten years ago has now found hope through a successful prosthetic on his hand. The man lost three of his fingers in a work accident in which a punch press fell on his hand when he was working at a local factory. The three fingers were amputated and it took him a full year to heal from his injury. Most heartbreaking of all was the fact that his baby daughter was only two weeks old at the time of the accident, and he was unable to hold her.

For ten years, the injured man worked short-term jobs, such as taxi driving, and bounced from job to job. The first prosthetic he was given was not very successful. Doctors gave him a silicone hand with rubber fingers that were awkward for him to use. He found this treatment to be just a superficial fix, and it did not allow him to work or use his hand effectively.

Finally, a doctor suggested that the man try a new technology that had recently become available. The new idea involved mechanical fingers called 'iLimb Digits' that attach to the forearm of the patient. The forearm section has wires that connect to the hand unit. All of these wires feed into the individual fingers, which each have tiny motors that make them move. The man was thrilled that he was even allowed to design his own prosthetic.

This Wisconsin resident is one of the first ten people in America to have this particular type of prosthetic. His workers' compensation benefits undoubtedly helped tremendously as he went through this medical journey after his work accident. The use of modern prosthetics, though effective, can be very costly. Without the help of workers' compensation, he would not have been able to have such a happy ending. Eventually, the renewed worker plans to go back to school and become an occupational therapist so that he can help and inspire those who have lost limbs in similar industrial accidents.

Source:, "Technology helps man get use of hand back a decade after industrial accident," Janet Ortegon, Jan. 25, 2013

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