Latest technology allows Christchurch quake survivor to get new prosthetic legs

Source: 3 News

A Christchurch earthquake survivor and double amputee is heading to the United States to be fitted with the latest prosthetic legs.

Photo: 3 News

Stacey Herbert is going to a clinic that specialises in making computerised legs for amputees like soldiers wounded by bomb blasts.

Ms Herbert hopes the trip will mean less time in a wheelchair and more on her feet.

“It’s been a long time coming but it’s also quite exciting,” she says. “It’s been a couple of years in the making getting to this point, but it’s also quite scary.”

Ms Herbert’s legs were amputated high above the knee after she lay trapped and crushed in The Press building after the February 2011 earthquake.

But the 28-year-old is determined not to spend life in a wheelchair. The clinic she is off to specialises in more difficult cases like hers.

The Hanger Clinic in Oklahoma deals with lots of military cases, and works mainly fitting double amputees with computerised legs.

“It’ll be surreal once I’m actually there,” says Ms Herbert. “I won’t believe it until I’m there in the clinic.”

While some have had titanium implants that prosthetic legs can be screwed into, Ms Herbert isn’t going that far. She’ll be fitted with stubs first, then increasingly longer prosthetic legs, complete with knees. She’ll have to make return visits.

“I’m looking forward to being able to just get to the point where I’m at the same eye height with people – standing up at a bar or getting out of my chair because it won’t fit through someone’s gate and just walking through. Just the real small things I’m looking forward to the most.”

Friends have fundraised almost $60,000 for the trip. There’s a trust fund and ACC is paying for the knee.

Ms Herbert flies out to the US in a fortnight.



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