A gran who lost her limbs after she got sepsis from a paper cut has become the first NHS patient in Britain to be given a life-changing bionic hand – and can’t wait to eat a burger with it.
Marguerite Henderson, 57, received a hi-tec ‘Michelangelo’ hand, and can’t wait to be able to eat a burger using two hands.
She lost both legs and her left arm to sepsis three years ago, and her right hand was partially saved.
The prosthetic was fitted last month and has already given her vastly more independence.
For the last year, Marguerite has been under the care of specialist prosthetic staff at the WestMARC centre on the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus in Glasgow.
Marguerite said: “I’ve only had it a few weeks, but already it’s helping me to be more independent.
“It will mean very simple things like cutting my own food, eating different things, feeling comfortable about eating out – I can’t wait to eat a burger, which of course you need two hands for.”
Marguerite, from Crosshill, Fife, has made remarkable progress since her near fatal illness in February 2018.
After sepsis ripped through her body in a matter of days she had to have both legs and her left arm amputated.
The right hand was partially saved and she has amazed everyone with how much she has been able to continue to use it.
She said: “I am so glad the surgeon was able to save part of my hand. I can use it to type, sew, phone people and do my own hair, use my wheelchair and lots more.
“It’s not the life I would have chosen but I owe my life to the NHS.
“My new left hand will make me so much more independent. It just opens up so many things for me now. I am very lucky.”
Marguerite’s new high-tech hand works by her firing different muscles in her forearm to trigger the hand to do different movements.
Senior prosthetist Vincent MacEachen explained: “Marguerite was a natural – it normally takes many weeks to get used to a new hand, but you can normally tell within five minutes if someone is a good prospect.
“The Michelangelo hand is quite intuitive.
“There are two sensors in the socket on Marguerite’s arm – basically one to open and one to close.
“How strongly Marguerite flexes her muscles determines the speed and the movement the hand makes.
“With practise she can produce several movements – open, close, rotate the wrist left and right and position the thumb for different grasps.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Marguerite who has been motivated to try new treatments and put in the practice required. I wish her all the best in future.”
The hand was fitted over Zoom.
Alan Gordon and Alistair Ward, from the hand’s manufacturer Ottobock, watched Marguerite’s responses remotely, then relayed instructions about the adjustments to make.
They repeated this process until the hand was working perfectly.
Marguerite added: “Everyone at WestMARC has been amazing.
“From the smile at the front door to the time that staff spend making sure you are happy, each and every one of them is special.
“They listen to me and what matters to me.
“I am treated like a person with feelings and hopes – 100 per cent of the time it’s for my benefit.
“This is not a job for them, it’s a vocation and I can’t thank them enough for everyone they have done for me.
“I feel so privileged to be given this amazing hand and every day it’s helping me do more and more.”
The hand is considered to be a game-changer for prosthetics due to its lifelike appearance, including the movement and the way it relaxes and opens and closes before grasping an object.
A prosthetist specialist was with her as people from the company which created it were able to link into her arm and programme it via Zoom.