(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Five-year-old Joshua Rufus can now be just like his favourite superhero Iron Man with his Christmas gift of a 3D-printed prosthetic hand, which will take the place of his right hand which he lost in a scratch bomb accident three years ago.
Joshua was ecstatic yesterday when he was fitted with the prosthetic hand by Qualitech’s director Deepak Lall, just in time for Christmas today.
The Point Lisas-based engineering company reached out to Guardian Media several weeks ago volunteering to build Joshua a prosthetic limb, after the story of his losing the right hand to a scratch bomb when he was just two was published.
At that time, managing director Deo Lall promised to use his company’s 3D-printing machine to build a prosthetic hand for the youngster in time for Christmas.
Deo, his son Deepak and daughter Prashista Lall kept that promise yesterday at the company’s office.
Joshua sat patiently while Deepak fitted him with the prosthetic as his parents, Marcus Rufus and Mindy Sookram, looked on.
When the prosthetic was secured, a visibly-excited Joshua tried using it to make a fist and to pick up items on the table in front of him.
Deepak explained that the prosthetic was a prototype and its design will be updated and modified as Joshua learns to use it properly.
“At this stage, we wanted to get it finished in time for Christmas, but there will be changes made to it in the coming weeks as we will monitor how he is able to use and improve to give him more use,” Deepak told the T&T Guardian.
Joshua was most excited to show his hand to his older brother, eight-year-old Anthony and also has some grand plans on how he can put it to use.
“I want to do a handstand!” he quipped, prompting laughter from his parents and the Lalls.
Deo also promised Joshua that when the prosthetic is updated in a few weeks’ time it will be done in red and yellow, to mimic Iron Man’s hand.
“When we perfect the design we will customise it as well, so he will enjoy using it,” Deo said.
A grateful Marcus said although Joshua has learned to adapt without his right hand, he believes the prosthetic will make him stand out in a positive way, especially among his peers at school.
“Sometimes there is a bit of negativity when children interact with him because he is missing a hand. Now that will go from negative to a positive because I am sure his new hand will attract good, positive attention from the other children in school,” he said.
Mindy was all smiles as she said it felt wonderful knowing her son could get a “helping hand” to get him through as he grows up.
“It will take some time for him to be able to use it properly but I am just so happy that he can have something to help him along life,” she said.
Doctors at the San Fernando General Hospital, where Joshua spent three months following the accident, had told Joshua’s parents that he would be fitted with a traditional prosthetic hand, which is much more costly than a 3D-printed prosthetic, when he grows older.