A bionic hand “has transformed my life”, says a mother of four who lost the fingers on her left hand to the life-threatening infection sepsis.
Niamh Boyle, 32, said the prothetic iLimb makes her feel “like I’ve gotten a piece of myself back and that is something you cannot put a price on”.
Niamh, from Haggardstown, Co Louth, has been trained in how to use the prosthetic which was custom made for her following a series of tests and moulds at a special prosthetic company in Galway.
“I can’t even describe what it feels like to have the use of my left hand again. I’ve only had it since last Tuesday and it’s already transformed my life.”
Mum-of-four Niamh and husband Liam fundraised to cover the €65,000 cost of the iLimb digits hand.
It can be controlled using a digital app, resembles a bionic hand, and with it Niamh even played the guitar again.
“They are custom made by Touch Bionics in Scotland and I visited Apos in Galway who took the mould for it and I meet with the trainers.”
After collecting her new hand she said: “It’s literally taking half the time to do tasks now.
“Changing bedclothes, peeling vegetables, dressing the kids, tidying up toys, etc, is just so much easier.
“I’m playing the guitar again. I feel like I’ve gotten a piece of myself back and that’s something you can’t put a price on.
“I’m only a couple of days into it, but it’s definitely becoming more natural. I would say in a couple of weeks I’ll be able to control it without having to consciously think about what I’m doing.”
It is also helping her recover from the trauma of nearly dying from sepsis which she developed after her youngest baby was born.
When she woke from a medically induced coma she was told she would have to have all the fingers on her left hand amputated; she also lost toes on her right foot.
“From a psychological point of view, I feel like I’m as good as everybody else now. I’m not somebody to be pitied anymore but rather someone to be admired.”
She is very grateful to everybody who has supported her and who contributed to the cost of the iLimb.
Niamh wants to remind people of the danger of sepsis which claims thousands of lives every year across Europe.
“My message to people is to ‘always think sepsis’. If you have the symptoms and are concerned, go to a GP or A&E and say you are concerned over sepsis. It could save your life, or someone else’s.”
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can occur when chemicals in the bloodstream to fight infection trigger inflammation in organ systems. Symptoms include high temperature and heart rate.
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