With NHS England announcing that microprocessor-controlled knees such as Blatchford’s Orion3 will be made available to patients on the service, more people than ever before will be able to benefit from this technology. One couple whose lives have vastly improved since using microprocessor-controlled knees is Chris and Denise Arthey.
In 2008, whilst touring South Texas on a motorcycle holiday, Chris and Denise were hit by a drunk driver, who veered into their lane at 80mph. Both suffered multiple and severe injuries, resulting in each of them losing their left legs above the knee, and leaving Chris in a coma for many days.
Following the accident, Chris and Denise were originally fitted with older prosthetic knee models. Both being very active people, with Chris enjoying DIY and Denise being an avid gardener, these tasks were made much more difficult due to the limitations of their prosthetics, reducing their confidence in performing these activities.
However, after switching prosthetists, it was suggested that Chris and Denise moved onto microprocessor-controlled knees and after using original models, were provided with the latest product, Orion3. Once fitted with the new microprocessor technology, both said they noticed the immediate benefits.
Orion3 adapts hydraulic resistance in real time, providing the wearer with support when moving in any environment or standing still. This means that Chris and Denise are able to partake in the tasks they enjoy. Chris can perform DIY activities and is able to work on the house, taking on a range of maintenance tasks on their 100-year-old cottage capably and confidently, as Orion 3 allows him to climb stepladders and get to hard-to-reach places.
As well as this, Denise is able to volunteer in a school and she stands and sings in a choir without having her disability limit her while taking part in these activities. She can also confidently move across the varying terrain of the garden without the fear of falling over, kneeling to weed, so tending to the plants is manageable again.
Orion3 also has stumble recovery technology, ensuring that the knee remains stable should the user falter on different surfaces such as stairs or slopes. Chris and Denise have again benefited from this capability. As their driveway has a gravel surface and gentle slope, both of them previously had to be very careful when walking on it in case their legs locked up or they faltered. Now, thanks to the capabilities of Orion3, they can tackle the surface without any hesitation, as the knee will always adapt to the terrain and ensure they are able to walk seamlessly.
Since Chris and Denise have had their limbs fitted, both say that they are able to live full and active lives and feel less like amputees in the process. Chris said: “The Orion, especially the Orion3 with its upgrades and in combination with Blatchford’s EchelonVT foot, has given us our lives back and allows us to do the activities we love. We couldn’t recommend it highly enough to above the knee amputees keen to stay active.”