Darren ‘Daz’ Fuller was the first military veteran to receive a 3D printed ‘hero arm’ on the NHS after he lost the lower part of his right arm in an accident involving mortar ammunition in Afghanistan in 2008. Now, the 43 year old, who lives in Colchester, Essex, has been fitted with the first 3D printed arm as part of the NHS’s £11m project over the next two years to spend on prosthetics.
Mr Fuller appeared on Good Morning Britain (GMB), along with his daughter Sky to show off his new arm.
The veteran spoke about the ups and downs of living with a bionic prosthetic arm, which is controlled by signals from his other arm muscles, including how it still allows him to play golf.
Speaking to hosts Susanna Reid and Bill Turnbull, who is standing in for Piers Morgan, Mr Fuller explained how he has three settings for his new limb.
One is for everyday life, and when he wants to play golf, he slips the special cosmetic on, puts the desired club into the holding and “it allows me to swing like a normal right handed player”.
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Mr Fuller now has a handicap of 18, and hasn’t let his prosthetic arm deter his ambition as he said: “It’s not too bad, I’d like to get it lower but everyone who plays golf would say the same thing.”
Mr Fuller only went public with the bionic arm last week, when he told the media: “To be the first veteran to get [a hero arm] is fantastic, but it leads on to me being hopefully the first of many.
“The first few weeks have been a voyage of discovery.
“There are so many things I’m doing two-handed compared to before and so many things I’m still discovering.
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“Doing things together as a family that may not have been possible or a lot harder before has been great. I can also now remember the last time I ate with a knife and fork as it was yesterday.”
The hero arm, as it is known, as manufactured by Bristol-based company Open Bionics.
The device works by picking up minute signals from his remaining arm muscles which allows it to function as a realistic limb.
Open Bionics co-founder Samantha Payne said: “The fact that Daz is the first person to receive funding through an NHS funding pathway gives hope to the dozens of people with upper limb differences in the UK who are currently actively crowdfunding for their hero arms, and hundreds more who are waiting patiently.
“There are so many things I’m doing two-handed compared to before and so many things I’m still discovering.”
“We very much hope the NHS sees how helpful these devices are and begin offering them to more amputees.
“The hero arm is made in the UK and is currently covered by French and Irish national healthcare systems, but not England’s.
“We have a wait-list of amputees who cannot afford private healthcare waiting for the device to be available via the NHS and we’re excited to supply them with a hero arm in the future.”