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Trinidad: Boy who lost hand in scratch bomb accident gets relief for Christmas

By Trinidad Guardian

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Joshua Ru­fus

(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.

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