Dad begs NHS to give nine-year-old triple-amputee daughter bionic hero arm

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dad-begs-nhs-give-nine-14213555

The dad of a girl who had both legs and one arm amputated at five wants the NHS to give his daughter a revolutionary prosthetic arm.

Brave Rinae Hedgecock, now aged nine, had to undergo the devastating surgery when she contracted a dangerous strain of meningitis .

The youngster from Greater Manchester has made an excellent recovery but struggles with the plastic prosthetic arm she has been given.

Now her father John Hedgecock has begged the NHS to buy her a ground-breaking new type of prosthetic which he says would change her life.



Rinae had both legs and one arm amputated after she contracted meningitis aged just five

 

“Rinae just wants to be independent,” he said.

“She is getting to that age where she wants to be able to dress herself and she can’t with what the NHS have provided.

“She has adapted incredibly to her circumstances but the technology is there which is clearly better than what is on offer by our health service.”

The nine-year-old has set her heart on a “Hero Arm”, a new, lightweight high-tech prosthesis made by the Bristol-based company Open Bionics.

These arms are the first of their kind to be approve in Britain and allow their owners to make precise and delicate movements which are impossible with the simpler prosthetic arm Rinae currently has.

Mr Hedgecock, a bricklayer who raises Rinae by himself, said her current arm was no better than a “mannequin’s limb”.

But the NHS has so far refused to make the “Hero Arm” available, arguing it is too expensive.



The nine-year-old says her current NHS prosthetic is not flexible or precise enough

 

Rinae was given just 24 hours to live when she was diagnosed with meningitis in 2015.

She was playing with friends on a trampoline at home in Eccles when she felt her body “aching”.

the next morning she woke up with an extreme temperature and John spotted blood blisters appearing on her skin.

John said: “My nephew has had meningitis in the past so I saw the warning signs straight away.

“The alarm bells screamed out in my mind.”

Rinae was rushed to Wythenshawe Hospital for initial tests before worried doctors transferred her to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.

Once arriving, John was given the devastating news she had contracted meningitis and was given just 24 hours to live.



The family have started crowdfunding the money to buy the “Hero Arm” themselves

John added: “I remember the exact moment. I thought I was living in some kind of dream, I couldn’t believe it.”

Rinae, who has a twin brother Rico and older sister Chelsea, 16, was in intensive care for six months while she battled the condition and recovered from multiple life-saving surgeries.

She was hooked up to three machines pumping fresh blood round her body while she made her incredible recovery.

But now she wants to have her own Hero Arm to give her more freedom to live her life.

“All she wants is for a bit of independence. The main thing she misses is being able to grip onto things,” Mr Hedgecock said.

“She has adapted so well with what she has got but this would change her life and allow her to do everything any other child can do.”



The Hedgecocks think the NHS should pay for amputees to be given the new high-tech bionic arms

He has now launched an online crowdfunder to try and raise the £10,000 needed to buy an arm privately.

Samantha Payne, co-founder of Open Bionics, said her firm had worked hard to bring the price of the Hero Arm down to what the NHS spends on other prosthetics.

“We have engaged with the NHS since the beginning of our development and clinicians have been incredibly supportive.

“Unfortunately, NHS policy change is not currently keeping pace with technological improvements.”

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