DUNCAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A paramedic working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic is getting a lot of help thanks to a new high-tech prosthesis that can be controlled by a phone.
The above-the-knee amputee from West Virginia played a key role in helping develop it in Duncan, Oklahoma.
Ever since a hunting trip eight years ago, Tanner Boatwright has been working to get back to his active lifestyle.
“Everybody on their 16th birthday goes and gets [their] driver’s license and I was hanging out in the hospital,” Boatwright said.
A friend fell and accidentally fired a gun he didn’t know was loaded.
“And that’s all she wrote,” he recalled.
Boatwright remembers waking up from surgery with his dad by his side.
“I woke up, looked down, saw my leg was gone,” said Boatwright. “And I cried and he cried for 15 minutes hard straight.”
After those 15 minutes – no more tears, just hard work, and eventually becoming an a paramedic and staying active.
Especially now, with this high-tech prosthesis he had a role in helping develop and test with Dream Team Prosthetics in Duncan.
“We worked with the Austrian engineers to help develop this technology,” said Chad Simpson with Dream Team Prosthetics. “Tanner was one of those members that was instrumental in getting this technology where it is today.”
You can switch it to multiple modes from your phone.
“I have seven days of battery life. I have six different modes I can change in and out of if I want to drive or do push-ups or snowboard,” said Boatwright.
The prosthetic also is helping him as a paramedic.
“We’re constantly moving patients from difficult areas,” said Boatwright.
It’s especially helpful now during the COVID-19 pandemic, because the prosthetic is corrosion-resistant.
“We wash our ambulances after every shift and we also work with a lot of bodily fluids,” said Boatwright. “I have to be agile and I have to be able to trust what’s underneath me.”
After the trial, Boatwright was able to purchase the prosthetic to take home back to West Virginia.