Bionic hand first for Banbridge man

Bionic hand first for Banbridge man

A Banbridge man has become the first person on the whole of the island of Ireland to receive a bionic hand, something which has helped transform his life.

Stephen Lowry's right hand was blown off in a bomb attack on a Newry nightclub in September 1985.After dj-ing in the club he was helping the staff to clear up when he picked up a coat which contained the bomb.As an engineer, the 51-year-old said the loss of his hand hit him hard.He said: "It was the simple little things that most people take for granted that really affect you."Like doing your shoe laces or your tie and cutting a steak with a proper steak knife - that was something that I could never do."I had to always ask my wife and you always thought that people would look at you funny for having your food cut up."Stephen has been given a Bebionic hand which is made by English company RSL Steeper and was provided to the Co Down man by Musgrave Park Hospital's Regional Disablement Services.The prosthesis, which comes with a flesh-coloured skin glove, works on advanced sensor technology that picks up the electrical impulses generated from the biceps and triceps of the amputee.The hand cost around £40,000 and Stephen said it has transformed his life.He continued: "With older hands they were harder to use and not as sensitive."I couldn't hold a glass without smashing it."With this new one you are able to wear it throughout the day. It is heavy, you are still aware it is there, but it is not like the older hands."It's mostly just a matter of constant practise. I am able to drive, it feels very natural and my writing is improving."My most tremendous achievement was being able to cut a steak, using a steak knife."It's the silly things that make it and it's just phenomenal."CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)

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