In 2008, Debra Cosby of Tuttle, Oklahoma, was involved in a traumatic boating accident that caused the amputation of her left leg above the knee joint. Being thrust into having a mobility impairment brought a unique challenge she had never even considered. After going through months of healing, she was ready to begin the process to be fit with an above knee prosthesis.
Her son began a search for a prosthetist while she was still in the hospital and found Chad Simpson. Ironically, Chad went to high school with Debra's husbands nephew. Her first prosthesis consisted of a mechanical knee unit and very basic foot. She quickly learned to utilize the prosthesis and after a few months, was independently ambulating in daily life situations.
"Debra was a quick learner. She has always focused her energy on improving her gait and building her strength so that she is able to walk better and farther," said Simpson.
Chad recognized that her ability would now justify consideration for a microprocessor controlled knee system to give Debra even more function. The C-Leg gave her a new feeling of stability and confidence due to the microprocessor controlled hydraulic yielding support. Now she could confidently walk down ramps, hills or step off of curbs and walk down stairs knowing that the knee would support her in each situation.
Finally, she was beginning to not focus so much on walking with a prosthesis and returning to doing the everyday things similar to what she did before the accident.
Debra has always enjoyed personalizing her prosthetic sockets by providing fabric to have laminated into each socket. With her newest prosthetic, her selected fabric included beautiful, colorful flowers that really came alive with the lamination.
We were also able to obtain insurance authorization for the Ottobock Genium microprocessor knee system. The Genium provides many new enhancements and features that her previous C-Leg did not have. Being water resistant, the Genium can get splashed without having to worry about damage to the electronics. With the OPG (optimized physiological gait) functionality, walking is now much smoother and natural. And the five day battery life gives her the ability to enjoy camping or other outdoor activities without worrying about charging the knee unit each night.
Of course none of these things would be possible without her custom designed, direct skin fit suction socket. Clinical Director, Chad Simpson captures the exact shape of her residual limb by taking a plaster impression. Then modifying areas that need to be adjusted so there is a global encapsulation of her limb. The final carbon fiber frame and flexible inner socket provide the foundation necessary to lead an active and mobile life with a prosthesis.
"I truly enjoy seeing patients like Debra thrive with being a daily prosthesis user. She is very engaged with every step of the process of designing a new prosthesis and she really puts all aspects and capabilities to the test as she uses it in her daily life. Having worked with her since her very first prosthetic appointment to today, I've seen her really grow as a peer mentor and embrace being an incredible prosthetic user," said Simpson.