Fife Boy Gets UK's First Child-Sized Bionic Hand

21 August 2015, 18:46 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A nine-year-old who was bullied for having only one hand has become the first boy in the UK to be fitted with a new child-sized bionic hand.

Josh Cathcart, from Dalgety Bay in Fife, was tormented by classmates for his disability but now he said he cannot wait to show off his ''awesome'' new limb to friends at school.

Parents Clare and James told the Press Association how they were motivated to find a solution after Josh became withdrawn and came across Touch Bionics in Livingston, West Lothian.

Touch had just developed the i-limb Quantum, an extra-small version of their prosthetic hand which gives Josh a range of motion.

Josh said: ''I got it put on about two days ago. It feels quite heavy. I can stick my thumb up. I can make a pinch grip, I can get a grip for cutting with a knife.

''I made myself a bagel yesterday. I can open bottles and packets with it, I can stack up blocks, I can build lego with it and I can pull my trousers up.''

Mrs Cathcart said: ''Josh had been getting picked on and became quite withdrawn and upset, so we started looking for something a bit more advanced, something that moved.

''So, we had chats with him and then went on the internet and came across this company.

''He was born missing a hand. At first, I didn't really give it much thought to it, but as time went on I blamed myself for it.''

Wiping away tears, she said: ''Now I can see him with two hands.''

To Josh's visible protestations, she added: ``It gives him his independence, so he can now make his own food and tidy his own room.''

Mr Cathcart said: ''Obviously his socket's going to grow, so he'll get about nine months to a year out of this one and then he will have to come again and get a new socket.

''I think it's great. Just to see him pull his trousers up this morning, it was just something that he had never done, and he has been shown how to cut with a knife and fork.

''It just looked so natural for him. He can do things for himself without us helping him.''

Alison Goodwin, prosthetist at Touch Bionics, said: ''Josh has spent this week with us being fitted with the Touch Bionics i-limb quantum prosthesis.

''He's the youngest we've fitted so far because of the extra small hand that we now have available, so it's been great to now have the experience this week of fitting the youngest-ever person with the i-limb hand.

''We do fit the hand worldwide but he's the first one that we have fitted here in Scotland, so it's great that he's a local lad.

''We only released the i-limb Quantum in June, so it's brand new and offers some new features such as what we call i-mo technology, which allows him to do forward, backward and side-to-side movements, so he can enter grips such as a pinch grip or a lateral grip.

''It's a much easier way to control the prosthesis and we've been able to see this by somebody so young being able to pick it up so well.

''It works from electrodes which are positioned on the surface of his skin within the socket of his prosthesis, so this is the custom-made part which is fitted on to his residual limb.

''When he tenses those muscles, the electrodes open and close the hand.

''He's not worked these muscles because he has not used this type of prothesis before, and obviously without having a hand he has spent about nine years of not using those muscles, but he has developed them very well this week and has been working great with them.

''Josh was born without a right hand, as simple as that, it was just one of those things. He has a bit of a residual limb just below the elbow, but no wrist or hand.

''He's taken to it really positively this week, and he's looking forward to being able to integrate it into his daily life so he's really motivated to learn and use it day-to-day, so that's really helped the learning process because he is actually so positive and so motivated.''