Video: Man is first in UK with fully-functioning electronic hand
A man who lost his hand in a jetski accident has become the first in the Uk to be fitted with a fully-motorised artificial replacement.
Chris Taylor, from Ivybridge, has been fitted with the pioneering German hand which costs £47,000.
Chris, whose hand was severed by a nylon rope when he fell off his jetski in Torquay, can now carry out complex operations using the hand - thanks to the electronic fingers and thumb.
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It is the first in the UK which has all five digits controlled by electronic signals.
Chris, 58, is now back at work and is able to carry out complex as well as everyday tasks.
Dad-of-three Chris told The Mirror: “Now I’ve got something on the end of my arm that actually works. It is going to make a huge difference to my life.”
He found the hand, called the Michelangelo, over the internet.
The accident happened in 2009 when Chris Taylor had spent a day with his friend and son in Torquay taking it in turns to drive the machine while pulling each other round in a rubber ring.
After a day of fun in the water, the three were sat on the water vehicle about to head to shore when they were hit by a huge wave.
“We started to pull away,” said the lift equipment service engineer, “and I vaguely remember a big wave which threw us off the back.”
He said he had just finished loosely coiling some nylon rope into his hands which he was holding when they were thrown from the vehicle.
“Somehow the rope must have slipped around my wrist and with the weight of me falling off, it cut my hand clean off. Nylon rope will cut,” he said.
The first time he realised what had happened was when he saw blood on his wetsuit.
“I saw blood on my wetsuit and a second after I thought, ‘where’s my hand?”
“I saw it wasn’t there and grabbed at the sleeve of my wetsuit. I think it was natural instinct to protect the end of my arm.”
He said he felt no pain during the accident which happened on the August bank holiday weekend.
“I think the adrenalin kicked in and I felt nothing,” he said. “It’s amazing what the body can do.”
He added: “In some ways it was a God send that it was nylon as it made a clean cut. I was told this made the arteries constrict tightly so it didn’t bleed so much.”
Seconds after it happened he shouted: “I’ve lost my hand”, to his 26-year-old son, Wayne, who was about five metres away in the water. Chris said Wayne gave him a funny look before he swam over with his friend.
“I tried to use my elbow to get back onto the jet ski, but without much success,” said Chris. “God bless my son, he went under the water and launched me up onto the seat. It must be the strength you find when something like this happens,” he added.
The trio raced back to the slipway in Torquay Harbour where a member of the public tended to Chris while they waited for an ambulance.
He said: “I would like to thank that woman who helped me. I don’t know her name but she did all the right things, reassuring me and holding my arm up. Everyone was amazing.”
He added that the ambulance crew and staff at Torbay Hospital where he stayed for four days, were faultless.
He said it was a bonus that it was his right hand that was lost, as he is left-handed and he has been relieved to experience minimal pain.