UPDATE: Cindy’s amazing story has drawn attention from area media. The story also highlights the innovation of our care team and our relationship with Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.
Cindy Pohl has been unable to use her left arm since being injured in a car accident 19 years ago. But new technology offered through Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is helping her regain its use.
Cindy, a respiratory therapist at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, recently was fitted with the MyoPro arm brace. The myoelectric device supports a partially paralyzed arm and reinitiates movement to enhance function and quality of life. Sensors in the orthosis detect muscle signals that trigger the motor to power.
Cindy is the first patient at Mary Free Bed to receive the device, said Brittany Begerow, a certified orthotist with MyoPro training.
“Unlike devices that work on electrical stimulation, this device works off of EMG readings, so only trace muscle movement is required, and the patient is actually doing the work to get the device to move,” Brittany said. “The device only weighs two pounds and is completely custom-fabricated to the patient’s arm.”
MyoPro, the only custom myoelectric orthosis for upper extremity, is designed for people with weakness from stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries or neuromuscular disorders.
“This device will allow Cindy to become somewhat functional with her left arm,” Brittany said. “She does not have function of the wrist or fingers due to her brachial plexus injury, but this device will allow her to flex her bicep, which can help her to carry items such as groceries and her purse, and do things such as stabilize a cutting board for food preparation.”
The device also will help prevent overuse injuries to Cindy’s right arm.
“She has already had surgeries on her right hand, and should she lose function of this hand as well, she would need complete assistance in the home and for activities of daily living,” Brittany said.
Cindy shares her story in the video above.