TriHealth inspired by inventor who develops prosthetics after losing legs on Mt. Everest

TriHealth inspired by inventor who develops prosthetics after losing legs on Mt. Everest (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local medical team gets some high-tech help in robotic surgery.

A man who lost both his lower legs in a climbing accident is inspiring them to take the future of medicine to new heights.

Dr. Hugh Herr, the Founder and Director of the Herr Institute for Human Rehabilitation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has now spent years developing life-like limbs after he lost his lower legs.

Every step Dr. Herr takes on his bionic limbs not only propels him forward, it reminds him that because of his journey of amputation after frostbite took his legs at age, others never have to go back.

“I was fitted with prostheses and just very unhappy with their function and at that time I committed to advancing technology and improving their capability for myself and others,” said Dr. Herr.

In an exclusive interview with Local 12’s Liz Bonis, he showed how they are so lifelike, and if people can't see them, they don't even know he is wearing them.

“Each limb is controlled by three very small computers microprocessors, and about 12 sensors and the computers control my motor systems that powers my movements,” said Dr. Herr.

Dr. Herr spoke of this power, with passion at a recent healthcare event to support those who are using this technology as part of advances in medicine, specifically robotic surgery.

Those such as Dr. Erik Dunki-Jacobs use the surgery to remove tumors from cancer patients.

“It basically is allowing us to shrink down the size of our hands,” said Dunki-Jacobs who is with TriHealth.

Robotics uses high-tech help to extend those hands.

Dr. Herr admits he's a bit of a leg man, but is also working with a team at MIT on limbs for other body parts, and even what's behind the eye.

“We figure out how to attach things to the body, mechanically and we figure out how to build things that move like human body parts,” said Dr. Herr.

Dr. Dunki-Jacobs says those parts will change the future of medicine and those such as Dr. Herr inspire others to do the same.

He points out that the message is really a simple one: “All of us who share a passion, can help touch others’ lives.”

“To think about the stuff that they are doing in labs now, that someday will be mainstream, it' s an exciting time to be a part of medicine and using technology to sort of help people,” said Dr. Dunki-Jacobs.

And just in case you are wondering, Dr. Herr has gone back to extreme sports, and he's performing them as you would expect of someone who teams up with a Center for Excellence.

“I returned to climbing after the amputations and actually surpassed my previous abilities,” said Dr. Herr.

Dr. Herr has now fitted these bionic limbs on more than 1,700 people. 1,000 of them wounded soldiers, returning from war.

He is now working on a line of prosthetics for women to wear with heels.

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