Darren 'Daz' Fuller - first person to receive a Hero Arm on NHS 170220 CREDIT OPEN BIONICS
Technology

Army Veteran First Person To Receive 3D-Printed 'Hero Arm' On NHS

Former paratrooper Darren "Daz" Fuller said it has been a "voyage of discovery" having the use of two arms again.

Darren 'Daz' Fuller - first person to receive a Hero Arm on NHS 170220 CREDIT OPEN BIONICS

A British Army veteran who lost part of his arm in Afghanistan has become the first person to receive a 3D-printed 'Hero Arm' on the NHS.

Darren "Daz" Fuller lost the lower part of his right arm in Afghanistan in 2008, during an incident with mortar ammunition.

The 43-year-old, who lives in Colchester with his wife and four-year-old daughter, enlisted in the Parachute Regiment in 1994 and served for 20 years.

"To be the first veteran to get [a Hero Arm] is fantastic, but it leads on to me being hopefully the first of many," said Mr Fuller, who now works as an outreach officer for Blesma, the limbless veterans’ charity.

"The first few weeks have been a voyage of discovery.

"There are so many things I’m doing two-handed compared to before and so many things I’m still discovering.

"Doing things together as a family that may not have been possible or a lot harder before has been great.

"I can also now remember the last time I ate with a knife and fork as it was yesterday."

Darren Daz Fuller - Hero Arm 170220 CREDIT OPEN BIONICS.jpg
Mr Fuller served in the Army for 20 years and lost the lower part of his right arm in Afghanistan in 2008 (Picture: Open Bionics).

The new multi-grip arm was funded through the NHS Veterans’ Prosthetics Panel.

It is one of several Hero Arms manufactured by Bristol-based company Open Bionics and works by picking up signals from muscles in the residual limb.

When Mr Fuller puts on the arm and flexes his muscles just below the elbow, special sensors detect the naturally generated electric signals and turn these into hand movement.

The Hero Arm is currently only available to people through private clinics in the UK, US and Europe.

The company is working with the NHS on a clinical trial which could see the health organisation offering the limbs more widely.

Darren Daz Fuller uses his Hero Arm with his daughter 170220 CREDIT OPEN BIONICS
Mr Fuller's Hero Arm was funded through the NHS Veterans’ Prosthetics Panel (Picture: Open Bionics).

Open Bionics co-founder Samantha Payne said: “We very much hope the NHS sees how helpful these devices are and begin offering them to more amputees.

"The Hero Arm is made in the UK and is currently covered by French and Irish national healthcare systems, but not England's.

"We have a wait-list of amputees who cannot afford private healthcare waiting for the device to be available via the NHS and we’re excited to supply them with a Hero Arm in the future."

Cover Image: Darren "Daz" Fuller uses his bionic arm to play a game with his daughter (Picture: Open Bionics).