With a weakened immune system due to bouts with cancer, Eric
Jones's health took a turn for the worse when he developed strep
pneumonia and sepsis that developed into disseminated intravascular
coagulation (DIC), a life-threatening blood-clotting disorder that
cut off the blood supply to Eric's extremities. As he entered a
month-long, medical-induced coma, so bleak was his prognosis that
he was likely to awaken to find both arms amputated below the elbow
and both legs below the knee.
When he awoke, he had lost most of the function in his left
hand. His fingers and thumb had been saved, though they were
severely contracted into a fist, a state that would take surgery to
improve. His right hand, however, fared worse from the DIC; his
doctors were unable to save his fingers and thumb and they were
amputated. In addition, he lost his toes and other parts of his
As traumatic as this result was, when Eric awoke, he felt
tremendously lucky to be alive. He credits the many doctors,
therapists and nurses who worked with him at Yale New Haven
Hospital. Still, it was a long road ahead of him to rehabilitate
and adapt to his new circumstances.
For a long while, he didn't have a prosthetic on his right hand.
That didn't stop Eric. He was determined to find new ways to live
his life, play with his kids, and take care of his
responsibilities. He quickly learned to write with his left hand,
more legibly, says his wife, than he ever did with his right. While
he would never play the piano again, he accepted the challenges
before him and faced them with as positive an attitude as he
While at a rehabilitation hospital in December 2007, where he
was learning to walk again and receiving rehabilitation on his
surgically opened left hand, he looked forward to the evaluation
day at the end of the month-long process when the evaluation team
determines the best course of action based on a patient's
Having seen Touch Bionics in the media, he was excited to find
out what partial-hand prosthetics existed and might be suitable for
him. When the evaluation team told him little more than that he was
a candidate for a prosthetic, he was thoroughly disappointed but
came to an important realization.
"I saw the i-LIMB Hand and knew that it offered a level of
functionality that I was looking for and wondered if similar
technology existed for people like me with missing fingers. It was
then up to me to find it and get it."
He was first fitted with an off-the-shelf device, what he refers
to as his "gadget hand," a device that resembled a wrist support
and socket with various attachments - a knife, trowel, hamburger
flipper and so on. While this offered him some additional
functionality, he wanted to seek out the most advanced product on
the market. He thought that Touch Bionics would be a good place to
start in finding the best possible partial-hand prosthesis.
Eric sought out a prosthetist who worked with Touch Bionics
products and found Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of
Middletown, NY. He was fitted with the first-generation ProDigits
in December 2008. His second-generation ProDigits were delivered in
Summer of 2009; this newer prosthesis has a movable thumb.
He has opted for the i-LIMB Skin, a clear silicone,
robotic-looking covering on the hand rather than a high-definition
human cosmesis partially because a prosthetic for him is all about
"I didn't want to wait even one more day before I could start
using it," said Eric. "ProDigits offers me functionality that I
can't get anywhere else - it offers me the ability to grasp. I walk
with a crutch to steady myself, which I hold in my left hand.
Without ProDigits, I can't carry anything like a hot cup of coffee
as my left hand can't grasp it and nor can I cradle it in my right
"With ProDigits, I gain more independence. I can pick something
up and walk out to the car with it, rather than have to put it in a
bag. Most importantly, I'm able to take care of my kids - play
games with my kids, take them to school, make dinner. ProDigits
helps with all that."