On Dec. 16, 1996, at approximately 11 a.m., an out-of-state woman took her last step -- until recently. It was on that date that she sustained a spinal cord injury in a construction accident. The woman fell nearly 20 feet, and like many spinal cord injury patients here in Massachusetts, she has been in and out of rehabilitation centers since that time. She even required surgery just to be able to sit upright on her own again.
Amazingly, on Friday, Feb. 28, for the first time in nearly 18 years, she walked. A robotic suit called ReWalk helped her do it. In order to walk with the aid of the suit, patients move their hips to initiate movement, and then the suit moves the legs.
The South Carolina spinal cord injury center that has the suit is one hospital in one of the 22 states nationwide that have access to this technology. The suit, which will be used for research, was purchased through a grant obtained by the hospital. The brace support suit is equipped with motion sensors and a computer control system. Patients use crutches to support themselves as they move from sitting to standing and then to walking and turning.
It is unknown whether this technology is going to be adapted for individual use sometime in the near future. For now, patients may only be able to use the robotic suit in a rehabilitation setting. However, for this woman who sustained a spinal cord injury in a construction accident, having the opportunity to stand and walk on her own, even if only temporarily, was worth it. When a Massachusetts resident suffers from a spinal cord injury through the negligence of another, filing a personal injury claim could result in an award for damages. Any financial restitution obtained could provide the means needed for the best treatment available.
Source: live5news.com, Robotic suit helps some walk again, first in South Carolina, DaShawn Brown, Feb. 28, 2014