May 13, 2014

12-year-old Handicapped Haitian orphan boy Stevenson Joseph became the first recipient of a 3D printed prosthesis in Haiti last month. Stevenson was born without fingers on both hands and in a country where programs for the disabled are rare, the chance for getting proper treatment is small.

In 2010, Stevenson was brought to Bernard Mevs hospital in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but they could not repair his missing fingers.

Luckily he is now getting help from the new technology: 3D printer, thanks to a British-born software engineer in California.

On a mission trip to Haiti for Florida-based Food for the Poor last year, John Marshall and his wife Lisa, met Stevenson at the Little Children of Jesus orphanage where he has lived since he was abandoned when he was 3 years old.

Marshall decided to help. When he returned home, he looked through all the info about the plastic prosthetic "Robohand" and started working with Richard van As, the Robohand inventor to design a 3D printed prosthesis for Stevenson.

"Stevenson is handicapped in a small way, in a way that's not as bad as some of the other children, yet his hands are holding him back. He can do so much more. He has the potential," said Marshall.

After months work and three attempts, the final version of robohand was ready. The cost of printing the prosthesis is only around $300.

The 3D printed prosthetic hand was then sent to Haiti where Bernard Mevs hospital medical team fit Stevenson with it last month.

"A printed prosthesis is more anatomical and it allows more motion than the one that is usually custom-made," said Iwalla, an orthopedic technician at the hospital.

The 3D printed prosthesis is articulated by Stevenson's wrist. It may not be the most good looking prosthesis, but it works perfectly. "Some patients care more about cosmetics. But for Stevenson function is the most important criteria. That's what is in his mind. His robot-hand makes him happy, makes us happy," said Iwalla.

Little Stevenson loves his new hand and now spends his days getting used to it.

"It is a great hand," he smiled. "Now I can take a balloon with it. I can score at basketball. I can hold a TV remote and push my friends on their wheelchairs. I can hold a water bottle, a bag. I like it a lot."


Source: Reuters

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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