LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Nearly five decades later, Tommy Rowland, 55, of El Dorado, Arkansas is getting what he calls a second chance at life.
“Anybody who lost an arm or a digit or a few fingers and could get those back – it’s unbelievable the feeling that you can have,” says Rowland.
Rowland lost his hand when he was 13-years-old after getting it caught in a meat grinder.
“I used to feel my fingers there,” explains Rowland. “Now I look down and I see I have them.”
Rowland, who works as a chemist, says he uses his hands every day and needed help from some of his colleagues at times, but was persistent to never feel bad.
“I had a very supportive family and I always stood positive,” says Rowland.
Until life took a turn for the better, says Rowland. About 4 years ago, he was approached on his lunch break while walking through a parking lot from a man who said he worked for a company called Touch Bionics.
“They man came up to me and asked if I was interested in have a prosthetic,” says Rowland. “It took me a couple of days to think it over and call him back but I thought about it and figured what do I have to lose. I already lost half my hand.”
Touch Bionics markets themselves as high-tech and leading developer of advanced upper-limb prosthetics. The company brought to market the i-LIMB Hand, a first-to-market prosthetic device with five individually powered digits.
“Each finger is controlled by the muscles in my hand,” explains Rowland. “I think that’s why it feel so real.”
The leading-edge technology has transformed the way people think about their future without a limb because it also has developed a partnering app that doctors and occupational therapists can use to work with their patients.
“Tommy is doing great and puts a lot of effort to learn how to work with his prosthesis,” explains Angela Green, an occupational therapist at Therapy Zone in Little Rock.
Green says he travels two hours from El Dorado to Little Rock to do his one-hour therapy session.
“I have a second chance at life,” says Rowland. “I am getting towards the age of retirement and all I can think about is fishing. I love fishing.”
The cost of the prosthetic could range anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000 but Rowland says his insurance covered the cost completely.
“At first it was battle with the insurance and took me three years with talking with them, but eventually they approved it and I got my hand,” says Rowland. “I would tell anyone who is in my similar situation to never give up.”
For more information on Touch Bionics, click here.