Mum Finally gets First Bionic Arm after Sepsis Amputation

21st September 2021

A devoted mum from Chichester was recently fitted with an advanced bionic arm to help her regain independence after a sepsis amputation left her with life-changing injuries. 

Susan Neil, a mum-of-five, went from being a healthy lady in her 40s, to fighting for her life following a routine trip to the dentist, Sue said: “I went for a routine checkup where the dentist nicked my gum. It caused the most horrendous abscess that left me fighting for my life with sepsis.” 

Sue went on to spend four terrifying months in intensive care and a whole year in hospital recovering from the infection that led to the amputation of all her limbs, part of her nose, tongue, and mouth. 

When Sue returned home she remembers the heart-breaking moment she realised that life would never be the same, she said: “my arms were too short to fully wrap around my kids and cuddle them.”  

Watch Susan get her Hero Arm fitted

Feeling lucky to be alive after the sepsis amputation, Sue became determined to get her life back on track and researched bionic limbs where she discovered the Hero Arm, a multi-grip bionic arm. Sue credits the bionic arm with giving her “a new lease on life”.

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Susan worked closely with the Open Bionics funding success team to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed to cover costs of getting a Hero Arm. Sue was fitted with a Hero Arm built custom for her amputated arm which matched her individual prosthetic requirements and design preferences. The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

Now celebrating bionic hugs with the family, Sue is looking forward to being able to do simple things like eat a packet of crisps, and brush her hair without needing assistance. 

Commenting on Sue’s journey Samantha Payne MBE, COO at Open Bionics, said: “We are so pleased to see that the Hero Arm is helping Sue re-gain independence and confidence. We really love seeing the videos Sue posts of her completing new challenges with her new hand. We hope that NHS England will adopt this technology so that British people can stop using Crowdfunding to pay for their healthcare needs.” 

Open Bionics is waiting for NHS England to update their guidelines to enable amputees in the UK to access advanced multi-grip technology that costs less than older NHS myoelectric prosthetics. Those interested in finding out more about the Hero Arm can register their interest to speak to a Hero Arm expert.