Nicola Wilding hasn’t used her right arm for 12 years. A car crash when she was 23 left her with severe nerve damage, unable even to move the limb. Now she is considering having it amputated to be replaced a a state of the art bionic hand.
In 2011 a 24 year old called Patrick was the first patient to elect to have his arm removed. He had lost use of it after an electrical accident at work. His arm was replaced with a state-of-the-art bionic device which can sense the nerves in his lower arm and react according. Patrick is able to move the arm in much the same way as he once moved his own arm. He can even tie his shoelaces and open bottle tops.
Now Nicola Wilding is considering a similar fate. It is a risky and expensive choice: any amputation carries risks of post surgery infection, there is no guarantee that her body and the artificial arm will work well together afterwards, and the medical fees are steep. There are also long term maintenance costs to consider.
Her doctor, Oskar Aszmann, checks assesses her carefully in the pre-selection interview. Then Nicola will travel to Vienna to see if she will be lucky enough to be chosen for the surgery.