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
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.
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
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.