Location: Lake George, NY
Clinic: Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates, Inc.
Product: i-limb digits
It was less than four months ago that Paige Edwards and her mother, Janine, watched with great interest as the teenaged Michael Waldron talked on NBC's Today Show about his bionic fingers, ProDigits from Touch Bionics.
"I thought it was really cool," said Edwards. "My mom and I watched the segment over and over."
Like Michael, Paige had been born with a partial hand deficiency and the promise of a bionic finger system that would provide her with both form and function was of tremendous interest.
Through the Helping Hands Foundation, a national organization that provides support, information and experiences for children with upper-limb differences, Paige soon discovered that she knew another teen in California who was in the process of being fitted with ProDigits. Witnessing these two young people with similar situations and how ProDigits was helping them, she and her family were hopeful that she would be a viable candidate for this revolutionary prosthetic device.
Paige and her family began researching ProDigits on the Internet. Their search led them to Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates, a prosthetic company in upstate New York that has worked closely with Touch Bionics on the development of its technology and previously fitted patients like Paige. As a Clinical Collaborator of Touch Bionics, Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates is a clinic seeing patients like Paige in its four area locations; Middletown, Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Monticello. This is the only clinic in upstate NY trained to fit patients with ProDigits.
"Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates has been really helpful as I've gone through this process," said Edwards. Added Paige's mother, Janine, "The company has been amazing by working out any minor detail with our insurance company in regards to approval, scheduling early evening appointments that were more convenient for traveling and a school schedule, and replying promptly to any questions or requests for assistance. We couldn't have asked for better service, understanding, and compassion."
The process started with an examination at the Middletown clinic, where Paige was assessed for her suitability to use ProDigits. It was determined she would be a good candidate and the fitting process was set into motion. Within three months of first contacting Touch Bionics, Paige was fitted with a test device that, she says, she was able to control effectively within 24 hours.
Paige, like many American teenagers, is active in her community, loves to socialize with her friends and participate in sports. While she didn't use a prosthesis in her daily life, she has used adaptive prostheses that enable her to play field hockey and baseball, as well as swim. She leads a full and happy life but has felt over the years that her limb difference has limited her abilities in some areas that others take for granted.
With ProDigits, I'm able to hold a hairbrush and a hair dryer at the same time. I can hold a water bottle - basic everyday things. Paige Edwards
Also like other young people her age, she's conscious about her appearance and looks forward to getting a high-definition skin-like covering for her ProDigits that will enable her to blend in with her peers and reduce the number of questions she receives about her partial hand from friends and strangers alike.
"Because my hand has been like this my whole life, I've adapted and been able to do a lot of things, but ProDigits makes it easier. My friends are lining up to do things with me, things I've not been able to until I was fitted with ProDigits. One of my friends wanted to be the first to play patty-cake with me, another wanted to make a secret hand shake."
About Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates
For over 20 years, Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA) has provided prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation to residents of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain region, in addition to patients from around the world, who are in need of the company's unique combination of functional and aesthetic prosthetic restoration.
Tom Passero, CP, formed POA in 1989 in Middletown, New York, where it opened its first clinic and where the company's headquarters remain. Currently, the company has clinical offices in Middletown, Monticello, Kingston and Poughkeepsie and is anticipating opening a specialty clinic in Albany in early 2011. Operated by American Board Certified staff with over 100 years of combined experience, POA's clinical team offers comprehensive services in the complete spectrum of prosthetic rehabilitation. For more information, please visit www.POAprosthetics.com.