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Woman Wants To Replace Her Non-functioning Hand With a Bionic Prosthesis

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the just-inject-techno-organic-virus-instead dept.

Medicine 171

erice writes about the case of Nicola Wilding: "Injured in crash which damaged the nerves in her arm, she has reached the limits that can what be accomplished with nerve transplants. She can move her arm but doctors have given up hope of restoring use of her hand. So she wants doctors to amputate the hand and replace it with a bionic version that does work." The doctor, Oskar C. Aszmann, first performed a similar operation last year.

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171 comments

Sounds good. (3, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | about 2 years ago | (#39408617)

Why not?

Re:Sounds good. (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#39408653)

It's the first step to being consumed by the Dark Side.

Re:Sounds good. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408799)

It's the first step to being consumed by the Dark Side.

It's a woman. She's already a card-carrying member.

If the doctor doesn't wanna do this she won't present a logical argument. That's a Light Side power. Instead she'll guilt-trip, or show some clevage, or try to publically shame him for not helping a poor disabled woman (no matter how sound a medical reason he had).

Sad but true.

Re:Sounds good. (5, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#39409181)

Well, at least the world won't have to worry about your genes propagating...

Re:Sounds good. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409317)

Well, at least the world won't have to worry about your genes propagating...

Yeah, because I use condoms. And I flush them down the toilet so the bitch can't fish them out the trash and knock herself up for child support money. Yes, when you have some money you will find that lots of women will stoop that low. And lower.

You can't just hope for things to happen your way. You've got to take action.

Oh wait, I'm sorry, were you suggesting my honesty about the true nature of most women means I don't get laid? Au contraire, padawan. Knowing how most of them are means I get laid more than you could ever dream of. That's the proof. Your love life? Limited to mocking people on the Internet because they aren't woman-worshipping (really mama worshipping) pussies like yourself. Have fun with your hand tonight, Palmala And Her Five Sisters and all that. Or maybe, have fun with your Sergeant Major bitch of a wife who walks all over you, who you're afraid to stand up to no matter how unreasonable she gets since you'll be in the dog house.

Oh I'm sorry, you don't feel like such a big man now? Hint: don't fuck with people you know nothing about.

Re:Sounds good. (5, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#39409517)

Well, at least the world won't have to worry about your genes propagating....

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409815)

Someone rated you down on two posts and rated the anonymous troll you're talking with up on two posts. hmmmm.

Re:Sounds good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409923)

Big deal, you like to AC troll so you can mod-troll, you're still an asshole who couldn't get within 10 feet of a woman if you paid her (and I'm sure you've tried). How pathetic a life you must have.

Re:Sounds good. (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#39408691)

Hell, I want to replace my FUNCTIONAL hand with a bionic one.

Re:Sounds good. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408891)

Remember: practice on a hot-dog first.

Re:Sounds good. (3, Funny)

FunkDup (995643) | about 2 years ago | (#39409633)

What you've really got to worry about is a voice activated bionic hand. Be absolutely sure that you never say "Fuck me dead!"

Re:Sounds good. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409843)

"Hand, pick up the ball."

Re:Sounds good. (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39408717)

Potential liability, perhaps. Who could she sue if it doesn't work right?

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408777)

No one. I'm sure she'll be signing plenty of paperwork before this goes on. The only liability I see is phantom pain.

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409151)

And luckily we've all seen the TED talk, or the House episode, and know how to cure it! :)

Re:Sounds good. (3, Interesting)

rhook (943951) | about 2 years ago | (#39409189)

These days you sign a release of liability that covers the doctors from pretty much any lawsuit before you go into surgery.

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409305)

Sort of. You sign a waiver acknowledging that you understand the risks and that even if the doctor does everything correctly, you might still come out worse on the other side. That being said, the doctors aren't protected if they don't do everything properly (ie: negligence, gross negligence, etc.). Perhaps the waiver is a bit more comprehensive and enforceable if the procedure is experimental (eg: here).

Re:Sounds good. (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39409601)

No waiver can waive legal rights, and negligence can never be waived for. Just going in to a trial with a "he cut off my hand (at my request)" sob story may be sufficient for winning a negligence trial, even if no actual negligence occurred.

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409347)

Should be pretty easy to replace, you would think.

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408849)

I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but what if we get a breakthrough in nerve repair in the near future and she could have had full function back in her hand?

Re:Sounds good. (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 2 years ago | (#39409035)

Then she'll be sorry she did it. On the other hand what if we don't?

It's her choice. If she thinks it's better for her to give up the slim hope of using her real arm again for a bionic arm that's what she should get.

Re:Sounds good. (3, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#39409203)

Exactly! Same reason you should wait to buy your next car... flying cars are just around the corner, until then, you can take the bus.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

mcavic (2007672) | about 2 years ago | (#39409241)

Possible, but it probably won't happen in the next 5 years, and as long as she can come up with the money she needs and the prosthesis works well, I don't think she'll regret it.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#39409419)

If the nerves in her upper arm are damaged, and that's why her hand doesn't work, how is an artificial hand going to work any better? It still needs to receive impulses from those nerves.

Seems to me they need to do more research on nerve repair, regeneration, or maybe even artificial nerves.

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409443)

Who says they need to use those nerves to control the hand? They had a monkey controlling a robotic arm with no arm nerves being sued at all (it was connected directly to the brain), so this shouldn't be any harder.

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39410343)

The doctor who would perform the operation said in the article that she will need to use the nerves in her lower arm to control the hand. That is why he needs to do further electrical conductivity tests to evaluate whether she is a good candidate.

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39410241)

How would she pray to our Lord the holy father with a "Bionic Prosthesis"?

Just disgusting! How can she give up her own hand? This is certainly not okay with me. :(

Sarif Industries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408651)

She never asked for this... oh wait, she did? Well never mind, then.

Already happened in Austria (2, Informative)

aBaldrich (1692238) | about 2 years ago | (#39408657)

And it was also covered by the BBC [bbc.co.uk].

Re:Already happened in Austria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408755)

What tipped you off? It's the same doctor. The summary specifically states that AND gives a link:

The doctor, Oskar C. Aszmann, first performed a similar operation last year.

Re:Already happened in Austria (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408935)

There is some indication the doctor's original surname was Goldman.

Re:Already happened in Austria (2)

similar_name (1164087) | about 2 years ago | (#39409859)

The summary specifically states that AND gives a link:

Not just a link but the same link and somehow he is rated +3 informative right now. I wonder if I can get +5 for this brilliant post

"Injured in crash which damaged the nerves in her arm, she has reached the limits that can what be accomplished with nerve transplants. She can move her arm but doctors have given up hope of restoring use of her hand. So she wants doctors to amputate the hand and replace it with a bionic version that does work [bbc.co.uk]."

The doctor, Oskar C. Aszmann [bionicreconstruction.com], first performed a similar operation last year [bbc.co.uk].

Re:Already happened in Austria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408889)

But did it happen to woman????

Quite... (5, Funny)

Quartus486 (935104) | about 2 years ago | (#39408687)

..the hand-decap then. Would someone just lend the poor woman a hand already?

no more puns for you, (5, Funny)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39408695)

you're cut off.

Re:no more puns for you, (4, Funny)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#39408839)

Oh, you're just getting on his nerves now.

Re:no more puns for you, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408939)

I'd give you two thumbs up but I've only got one.

Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408773)

We think we have all this "technology" but we are really only good at a few things. Burning fossil fuels in a turbine, mass-producing items and putting transistors on a tiny chip so we can play video games But our understanding of the mechanisms of life is piss poor. Why can't we fix a few grams of living matter? Because we aren't nearly as clever as we think we are. We're going to replace a hand with some sort of toy robot hand with a few motors in it that will not work anywhere near like a real hand. Pathetic.

When are we going to stop trying to re-enact the past with ridiculous private space efforts and dare to build the future? Where are the visionary rich when it comes to biotech?

Re:Pathetic (1)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#39408831)

Where are the visionary rich when it comes to biotech?

Hiring patent lawyers. At least if Monsanto is any indication.

See, the problem is that this bionic hand can't cross-pollinate with natural hands and produce new lawsuits. Fix that and there will be bionic hands for everyone who wants them.

Bad comparison (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#39408887)

We're going to replace a hand with some sort of toy robot hand with a few motors in it that will not work anywhere near like a real hand.

That's not the comparison she gets to make. Her options are a human hand that doesn't work, a hook, or a "toy robot hand." She doesn't get to wait for future technologies that might never come to apss.

Re:Bad comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408977)

Weird. Slashdot is the same place where people are sure Space Elevators are a simple technology, but patching a few molecules in a nerve will never come to pass. Very, very VERY bizarre.

And those aren't her only options. If you feel like you can handle some horrific medical imagery, look at Krukenberg hands...

Re:Bad comparison (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#39409439)

It's weird how some people think Slashdot is full of people who all have the exact same opinion.

From what I've seen, Slashdot is a place where people are sure that Space Elevators will never, ever happen, and are completely impossible; and that Microsoft is the greatest company with the best products.

Re:Bad comparison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409687)

"people are sure that Space Elevators will never, ever happen, and are completely impossible"

We tend to call such people realists, engineers or physicists. Also, space is an empty hell, why the hard-on to get there?

Re:Bad comparison (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#39409769)

It's called resources, you idiot. The moon and asteroids are full of valuable minerals, and you don't have to wreck the environment to extract them. The sun puts out more energy than we could conceivably need, and in space there's no atmosphere or night/day to hinder your acquisition of that energy.

Re:Bad comparison (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#39409023)

She doesn't get to wait for future technologies that might never come to apss.

It's not like having a useless limb is killing her. She's been like that for twelve years. So, of course she can wait for future technologies. She just doesn't want to.

Re:Bad comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409233)

Okay, try crippling your hand, living with it for twelve years and through several nerve transplants and attempts at physio, and see if you feel like continuing waiting an indefinite period through an indefinite number of new procedures until it's (perhaps) actually repaired.

Re:Bad comparison (4, Insightful)

rhook (943951) | about 2 years ago | (#39409235)

Did you ever stop to think that she spent 12 years waiting for "future technologies" and that a bionic hand is just that?

Re:Bad comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409393)

might never come to apes? are we interfacing with todays xkcd?

Re:Pathetic (1)

mcavic (2007672) | about 2 years ago | (#39409307)

We created technology, and therefore we know how it works. We didn't create the human body, and it didn't come with an instruction manual.

Even so, we've come a long way in medicine. Being able to use nerve impulses to control a bionic implant is amazing to me.

Re:Pathetic (4, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 2 years ago | (#39409489)

We think we have all this "technology" but we are really only good at a few things. Burning fossil fuels in a turbine, mass-producing items and putting transistors on a tiny chip so we can play video games

Really? That is how you sum up all of human endevour? We have come so far and acheived so much since we came down from the trees. We have sent space ships out beyond our solar system, and explored the depths of the ocean that would crush a man if he ventured that far down. We can repair our bodies in extrodinary ways that were unheard of even 50 years ago. Doctors can use robots to perform surgery on people half a world away. We can make a robotic hand for someone. We made the world a smaller place by allowing us to talk to each other anywhere we want. We made Jersey Shore.

OK, we still have a long way to go, but why not see that as an exciting opportunity rather than bitch and moan that we haven't invented everything yet.

Why can't we fix a few grams of living matter? Because we aren't nearly as clever as we think we are.

Do you really think that the doctors in this case are so deluded that they think that they can fix this woman's hand? Obviously not, otherwise we would not be talking about fitting a bionic hand. Do you think the woman thinks that we are so clever that we can fix her hand? Obviously not, otherwise we would not be talking about fitting a bionic hand (again).

So who is it that thinks we are more clever than we really are? Not the people in the story. Not the people posting here. I know that it is certainly not you. You are too busy seeing the negative in everything around you. Maybe you are just still bitter that we don't all have flying cars like the old science fiction stories promised you when you were a child.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39410107)

"Why can't we fix a few grams of living matter?" - because it will require tools that we do not have yet. "Tehcnology" is a tool that we use which will eventually allow us to do that.

why cyber prosthesis? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#39408945)

Cutting off the hand is rather final.

If I were the woman, I would attempt a radical neural stemcell treatment instead. If it goes wrong, then cut off the hand.

The one you re born with is far superior to what science is currently able to provide, and it doesn't scare children.

Re:why cyber prosthesis? (2)

pz (113803) | about 2 years ago | (#39409019)

The real question is why she doesn't want to use FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) of her existing musculature. The interface is going to be the same as with a fully mechanical robotic hand, and the aesthetic outcome far superior.

Re:why cyber prosthesis? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#39409135)

Agreed. That would use her existing muscles, with artificial stimulation. A device worn on the forearm to stimulate those muscles would be less frightening than something like the LukeArm.

Still, I would try to repair the damaged organic system first. There have been many breakthroughs in nerve regeneration in the peripheral nervous system that would be helpful, and artifical stimulation would be a great suppliment to that.

Re:why cyber prosthesis? (2)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#39409155)

Granted, overall it's superior, but fake hands can do different individual things better, too. A prosthetic hand could easily be stronger than a real hand, for example. I don't know if anybody has worked on this, but I'm sure it's possible to do so. A prosthetic hand could also have more movement options. It could spin, for example, or the fingers could go all of the way back.

I think that under certain conditions, for certain people, a prosthetic limb could be better than a real one.

Re:why cyber prosthesis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409883)

You could make a prosthetic with a stronger grip, but you'll never make one capable of lifting more than the rest of your musculature can support. If you did that it would dislocate your shoulder or throw out your back.

Re:why cyber prosthesis? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#39409495)

Yeah, but even my working hands don't have 360 degree motion wrists! After playing Deus Ex, I want the option of snapping a guy's neck like that! Plus you can sharpen a pencil in one move! Bonus!

An exoskeleton would be better. (4, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#39408949)

If I had a nonfunctioning hand, I think I'd be happier with an exoskeleton, because it would be easy to install and uninstall. It's much more difficult to unamputate a hand.

Re:An exoskeleton would be better. (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about 2 years ago | (#39409339)

I think you're right.
however, it's probably easier to make robot fingers then exoskeleton fingers. although I wouldn't bet on it.
furthermore, the doctor is probably interested in working with amputees in the future, so he wants to have experience with that.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39408979)

I didn't ask for.... wait a minute, yes I did.

A Dead End (3, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 2 years ago | (#39409005)

Synthetic prostheses will probably end up being a dead end, for normal people at least. If your goal is to get someone back to 100% function of their original organic hand (or an idealized perfectly functional human hand if it was already malfunctioning from birth) then growing a new hand, either in situ or in a lab for later grafting, seems more likely. After all, we carry around everything we need to grow more body parts--that's how you got your original hands. Coaxing the body to do that trick again will likely be accomplished before we can make a synthetic body part that works just as well as a real one.

Re:A Dead End (2)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 2 years ago | (#39409173)

Synthetic prostheses will probably end up being a dead end

Yes, that's pretty much what "prosthesis" means.

[runs away]

Re:A Dead End (1)

mcavic (2007672) | about 2 years ago | (#39409335)

Growing new organs would be ideal. But a synthetic hand doesn't have to work just like the organic one. It just has to work better than having no hand.

Go for the whole thing once technology advances (5, Interesting)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 2 years ago | (#39409055)

I see no problem with replacing a hand. I want to replace my entire body. Until we know how to digitize the brain it would probably have to be a brain in an enclosure inside a robot body but later the goal would be to replace the brain. Do synapse by synapse replacement while you are awake and by the end you can think thousands to millions of time faster and at no time did you ever die.

Imagine all you could learn and see with a fully robotic body. You could explore space, many places on this planet that humans can't go and you would live long enough to see participate in many things that humans are only beginning to work on now. I would love to live for millions to billions of years and learn everything that I could.

Once you are fully digital you could even make probes to send down to new planets and it would feel just like you where there but if the probe is destroyed you would be fine since you could run it on remote. You could even have your brain be a massively redundant computer with stable memory in case of full power loss. Humans bodies are just not up to what I want to do and I prefer to go the technology route and fix the problem instead of accepting the limitations of what humans can do. We have been at our best trying to strive beyond what we can do, even if we don't reach our goal we learn a lot in the process. Artificial eyes, ears, legs, arms etc will help many people.

Re:Go for the whole thing once technology advances (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | about 2 years ago | (#39409287)

Yeah, and I'm sure you'd love an army of robo-humans to fight the Shadows with. I'm onto your meddling.

Re:Go for the whole thing once technology advances (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#39409291)

Why do you want a robot body, Kosh? Surely it'd be a step down for a big, glowy energy being such as you.

No news here (5, Interesting)

dakra137 (1590245) | about 2 years ago | (#39409093)

Replacing non-functional limbs with functional prosthetics has been going on for decades. Decades ago this was controversial, especially for children with birth defect limb deficiencies. My father-in-law, Dr. Leon M. Kruger, was the chief surgeon at a Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children. He conducted and published a study following children as they grew up, comparing measures of success in life skills, schooling, careers, happiness, etc. for those who did or did not have amputations. The success of those with amputations and prosthetics far exceeded those who kept the nonfunctional hands, arms, feet or legs. As they grew up, many of these children sent Dr. Kruger movies of themselves engaged in sports, riding motorcycles, etc. One favorite story was of a motorcyclist with a prosthetic who was in an accident. He was stuck in a position unable to remove his prosthetic which was pinned down under the motorcycle. He shouted to the first responders, "Take off my leg. Take off my leg." They told him not to worry, they could get him out with amputation. He most emphatically told them he'd be able to get himself away if they would just disconnect his leg. You might consider that a sick story. He thought it was funny, as did the teenager swimming in a lake in the summer of 1975 who grabbed onto the dock, stuck his stump in the air, and yelled, "Shark, Shark."

Re:No news here (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 2 years ago | (#39409927)

One favorite story was of a motorcyclist with a prosthetic who was in an accident. He was stuck in a position unable to remove his prosthetic which was pinned down under the motorcycle. He shouted to the first responders, "Take off my leg. Take off my leg."

They told him not to worry, they could get him out with amputation. He most emphatically told them he'd be able to get himself away if they would just disconnect his leg.

Presumably you meant "they could get him out without amputation"? Not nazi-ing, just very confused at the text as-is. But a good story.

Not bad, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409099)

As someone who was born with only one hand, I'm holding off for either a cloned hand, or a bionic one with superhuman strength and/or lasers. None of this halfway stuff.

An excellent idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39409615)

She should make sure to have them install a Husqvarna Chainrip(tm), ideally with the optional pullcord. A bit expensive but it'll do wonders for her cred with the boosters.

A human revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39410051)

The last person to get this surgery ended up with bionic sunglasses and an arm-blade, but she never asked for that.

Aszmann (1)

IcyHando'Death (239387) | about 2 years ago | (#39410125)

The doctor, Oskar C. Aszmann, first performed a similar operation last year.

If the lady wants an artificial hand, that should be her call, but you have to wonder about her judgement if she wants a proctologist to do the procedure.

Max Barry, Machine Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39410319)

Anybody read it?

Trailer [youtube.com]

Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39410391)

Lost use of 1/3 my finger, can i have half a working finger? :D
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