Success Story: Myoelectic Hand, Indiana

When you ask Herman Case what he does for a living, he will look you right in the eye and proudly state, “I am a drummer”.

Herman Case left his home of Peru, Indiana in the spring of 1965 to enlist in the United States Army. After a 13 month tour in Thailand, Case returned to the States at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri as a heavy equipment operator. During one of his weekend passes, Herman took his ’64 Chevy out for a joy ride on the country roads of Waynesville, Missouri. That joy ride would forever change the course of his life. With his left arm resting on the window, Herman took a sharp turn, causing the Chevy to rollover; exploding the windshield and crushing his left arm.

With severe damage to wrist and hand muscles, Herman underwent numerous surgeries and skin grafts trying to save his arm. Case was later taken to Fitz Simmons Hopsital in Denver, Colorado where he met his roommate, another upper extremity amputee who had recently been fit with a prosthesis.

“I was impressed at how well he used his prosthesis, considering he lost his dominant hand. I figured that if he could do it, then I could do it with my passive hand”, stated Herman.

With a new outlook, Herman’s left arm was amputated below the elbow, and he was fit for a hook and cable prosthesis. Although there was a period of adjustment, he became accustomed to his new arm and quickly learned how to control it. He was determined to return home.

“Meeting my family at the airport was an interesting experience”, says Herman. “I remembered walking through the airport; my hook gripping the duffelbag as I approached my parents and six siblings. They were all very supportive and sympathetic, although they didn’t know exactly what to say to me”.

One of Herman’s immediate concerns was how he would be able to continue his passion for playing the drums. Herman and his father, David, quickly devised a plan for his prosthesis. Using a metal rod attached to the drum stick, they fastened his hook to the rod with a wire coat hanger. This design would only be modified once by Herman’s close friend, Danny, who replaced the hook with an aluminum rod, including a car generator spring to provide the tension Herman needed.

Other than his father’s original design, Herman has only used this drum stick attached to his prosthesis for over 40 years in every gig he has ever played. Herman has played in over 25 different bands of various genres since 1969. Some of his favorite bands include “Night Moves”, “Freebird” and “Country Gentlemen”. In fact, his wife, Joyce booked his first gig at the Rainbow Bar and Grille in Peru, Indiana.

“Joyce and I grew up together, however we weren’t high school sweethearts”, Herman recalled. “My last name was Case and her last name was Cook, so we were always seated next to each other in class. I’m pretty sure she would copy off of me”, Herman stated with a grin.

It wasn’t until later in life that Herman’s sister would become friends with Joyce, and their relationship began. Herman and Joyce were married on December 4, 1971 and together they have three daughters, Ramona, Lorraine, and Lisa, as well as four grandchildren, Celeste, Lindsey, Victoria and Gage.

Herman recently joined the SRT family and was fit with his first suction socket and Touch Bionic’s iLimb Pulse Hand, which represents a new generation of myoelectic hands.  The iLimb Pulse looks and moves more like a natural hand. Each finger moves independently and bends at the natural joints so that it can accurately adapt to fit around the shape of the object you want to grasp.

Herman and his wife Joyce now live a quiet life in their peaceful house in Peru, Indiana. However, as soon you step into his garage, you enter Herman’s man cave with his drum set and his 1935 Chevy 3-window Coupe.

Herman is currently looking to join a classic rock band. If you want to jam out with Herman, call him at 574.382.5235