New technology helping Texas teen born without a hand

- A Texas teen found many ways to work around the fact that she was born without her right hand. Even so, she can now do things she’s never dreamed of with the help of a top-of-the-line prosthetic.

Jennifer McCulloh has lived her entire life without her right arm.

“I get up. I get dressed and I do everything without my arm,” she said.

And after a lifetime of prosthetics, the 17-year-old was not optimistic about the next generation.

“I can function with it and without it,” she said.

But there are some things she’d like to be able to do like wave at people.

“Without it I can’t wave with my right hand. It’s a small detail, but it… I like being able to wave,” she said.

The McCulloh family regularly makes the 8 hour drive from their West Texas home to the Dallas Scottish Rite Hospital so Jennifer can be fitted for new prosthesis. The experience is nothing new.

But this time she’s being fitted for the latest and greatest model and she can do much more than wave. The bebionic is said to be the most advanced there is.

“Yeah, I never thought it would be possible to have all the fingers move. I saw it in a magazine. They were coming out with it and I was like, ‘Dad, that’s cool!” she said.

Jennifer’s previous bebionic was large and built for a man, not a teenage girl. Her new one is smaller and more feminine.

The technology is better too. She can do things she never dreamed possible, like her latest hobby – photography.

“She sort of come up over the years and come to us and said, ‘Hey, I want to take pictures. I want to photograph and I can’t do that with my current prosthesis or without a prosthesis. Can you help?’” said Kara Davis, a certified prosthetist.

Davis has worked with Jennifer for nine years. She said this latest hand is the best she’s seen and she’ll be able to use the muscles in her forearm to make the hand move.

“When she flexes one muscle group, the hand will do one function. When she flexes the other group, it will go in the opposite direction. She can also switch between different grip patterns using that same strategy,” Davis said.

It’s realistic too. With a sleeve covering her arm, you might never know it’s a prosthetic.

The girl who never let anything hold her back now says the possibilities are endless.

“Now I can… I can do that,” she said.

LINKS:
bebionic.com/the_hand 
community.tsrhc.org

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