KARACHI — Pakistan’s four years old Muhammed Sideeq has become the youngest person in the world to get a bionic limb.
Sideeq was fitted with a multi-grip bionic arm last week and the first thing he asked for after getting his new arm fitted was a new shirt: One with buttons that he could now fasten himself. Sideeq lost his arm in December last year in an accident involving a fodder cutting machine.
According to the World Health Organization, about 30 million people around the world require prosthetic limbs, but fewer than 20 percent have them, and they tend to be costly and heavy, with limited to no movement.
“As he ran home with his right hand cut off, his mother just fainted,” says Sideeq’s father, Mohammed Sadiq, who was not at home when the accident took place. His uncle rushed Sideeq to a nearby hospital in Charsadda city in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where doctors were unable to help him. The family then drove 50km to a private hospital in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where surgeons tried for three days to save the severed arm.”
“When the doctors analysed the hand, they said we will have to cut it from the body to save his life,” Sadiq said about the amputation.
Sideeq remained hospitalised for a month, which his father paid for with his savings and by selling his wife’s jewellery. The couple had no hope they would ever be able to afford a prosthetic arm for their son. It was the young boy’s determination, he said, that motivated the team to attempt the impossible. The arm, fitted with sensors that enable users to move the prosthetic by thinking about making the movements, would cost at least 300,000 rupees, which Sadiq could not afford. BIONIKS also helped the family find a donor, and last week Sideeq became the youngest known person to be fitted with a bionic arm. Before him, the youngest kids with bionic arms were two eight-year-olds from the US and UK.
“Initially, it was difficult to train him to control a bionic arm with his brain and send signals to his fingers. But he is a very active kid who learned to use (the) bionic arm, and now Muhammad is using the arm perfectly,” Niaz said. “We made his arm lightweight and durable so that he can resume his activities quickly.” Now Sideeq can play using his right arm again, and he can button his shirt too.
“I bought him new clothes and took him to the tailor,” the boy’s father said. “‘Make me cuff sleeves and not open sleeves, I will close the button because I have two arms now,’ my son proudly told the tailor.”
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