A Sheffield nurse who had her arm amputated because of a genetic condition has returned to work, after having a bionic hand fitted by surgeons at her trust.
The state of the art bionic arm has allowed Liz Wright to re-join the wards as a staff nurse at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, which is part of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“I am the only working nurse with a bionic arm. It is fantastic to be back in my uniform”
Ms Wright, 43, has Madelung’s deformity, a genetic condition causing pain in her arms and wrists, meaning she has had to wear plaster casts to support her arm for over 30 years.
Her condition worsened over the last few years and she was experiencing even more pain and difficulties, meaning that she could no longer continue to work.
It was at this point she said she made the decision to have her right arm amputated, with the operation taking place at the Northern General Hospital’s hand centre.
She was back at work just 10 weeks after the amputation with a cosmetic arm fitted. But she found her left arm was tiring due to carrying out tasks with one hand.
However, just over a month later, the trust fitted her with a bionic hand, which is anatomically accurate and designed to provide the most true-to-life movements.
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Dr Ramesh Munjal, a consultant in specialised mobility and rehabilitation, said: “The bionic hand works by using sensors which are triggered by muscle movements that connect to each finger and mimics the functions of a real hand.
“This allows Liz to manage day to day tasks without overworking her left hand,” he said.
He added: “I saw Liz for a pre-amputation consultation and was really impressed with her enthusiasm to work again.”
As a result of the technology, she has returned to work as a staff nurse in the pre-operative assessment unit at the same hospital where she was treated.
Ms Wright said: “I can’t praise the hand centre and mobility and rehabilitation unit enough for the excellent work they have done with my amputation, my bionic arm and ultimately getting me back to work, which has always been my main aim.”
“This has allowed me to continue in a job I am passionate about and, as I am aware, I am the only working nurse with a bionic arm. It is fantastic to be back in my uniform,” she said.