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Worker's compensation pays for man's high-tech hand

For Maryland workers who have been injured at work, news of an Indiana man's new prosthetic hand may incite hope. The man, now 64, has been a minister for many years, but an accident that happened back in high school significantly impacted his life. At 16 years old, his arm got tangled in a meat grinder when he was working, because there was not a guard on the machine.

He lost his right hand and wrist in the accident. Now, however, the man has been fitted for a very realistic prosthetic hand called the Michelangelo Hand. Unlike many other prosthetic hands, the Michelangelo allows the wearer to move his or her thumb in various directions and also move the other four fingers. In addition, the prosthetic device is controlled by the wearer's thoughts about which muscles he or she wants to move.

According to a report, the Michelangelo hand is only used by 100 people worldwide. The cost of the hand may be one reason for the low number of people who use the advanced device. The Michelangelo costs $75,000; for this Indiana man, worker's compensation is covering the cost.

Nearly 50 years after this man experienced a life-changing accident he is regaining abilities he may have thought he would never have again. For instance, the report indicates he was excited to shake his daughter's hand for the first time, something he could not do with other prosthetic hands.

For this man, worker's compensation has allowed him to receive a very high-tech prosthetic device that will undoubtedly allow him to do things he has not been capable of for nearly 50 years. It is significant that worker's compensation covered this man's prosthetic hand so long after the accident occurred. Others who have lived for years since a workplace injury may want to look into whether they could still benefit from worker's compensation after years have passed.

Source: WTHR.com, "Indianapolis minister first to get revolutionary prosthetic," Anne Marie Tierenon, Nov. 15, 2012

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