The Skills for Life III conference was held in Denver, Colorado this past week, and SRT was proud to have Brooke O’Steen, Hank Esmond and Trinity O’Steen present at this exciting event.

Held every three years, the Skills for Life conference provides an opportunity for therapists, prosthetists, physicians and amputees to discuss and problem-solve several issues that individuals with limb loss face. The conference also allows individuals with different levels of limb loss to share what works for them and network ideas on how to help others.

Brooke O’Steen, OTR at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana gave a presentation to fellow therapists on one of SRT’s patients, Hank Esmond. On October 2, 2008, Hank Esmond of Bluffton, Indiana, an electrical lineman for Bluffton Utilities, was atop a utility pole when a surge of 7,200 volts of electricity shot through his body, causing extensive burns that resulted in 17 surgeries and the loss of both arms. Esmond, determined to regain his independence, was fiercely dedicated to his rehabilitation process, which included pioneering surgery, as well as advanced occupational therapy techniques and prosthetic technology.
Hank is one of very few upper extremity amputees in the country who have undergone a surgery known as TMR (Targeted Muscle Reinnervation). This creates additional EMG sites (electrical signals), and takes the nerves that previously carried the signals for motion of the hand, wrist or elbow and repositions them in muscles on the chest. The end result is a high level of intuitive control, which enhances the functional use of the myoelectric prosthesis with less mental effort. Brooke’s case study discussed the process of Hank’s recovery, the reasoning behind using bilateral myo-electric prosthetics, and his adaptations necessary to be independent with his activities of daily living, home management tasks and driving.

To read more about Hank’s amazing story, please visit Hank’s Page.