In today’s world, medical science and technology has developed to a point where more accident victims can live much the way they did prior to suffering a serious debilitating accident.
According to a recent report in The Charlotte Observer, some of this new technology is being developed in North Carolina. Specifically, a new leg-mounted device aimed at helping injury victims is being developed. The new device, which has been described as groundbreaking, is designed to use a carbon-fiber exoskeleton worn on a patient’s legs and aids them in moving their legs back and forth during walking. What makes this device so remarkable is that it does not contain any motors with a power source, because designers believed this would make them to heavy to wear all day.
The way they work is a patient attaches the lightweight to device to his or her leg below the knee. There is also a crutch of some sort behind the patient’s calf and a spring by the patient’s ankle. There is a Kevlar cable that connects these elements, and a support is also placed in a patient’s ordinary shoe. When a patient takes a step, the crutch engages the spring by compressing it, and then in uncoils, causing it to help propel the patient’s leg forward. The mechanism then resets itself and starts again with each step. Essentially, it takes less physical energy to walk.
Scientists believe this can eventually provide major benefits to patients with nerve damage to their lower extremities and spinal cord injuries, as it will help them walk easier, or in some case walk where they could no longer do so due to their injures.
Currently, this early prototype weighs around one pound and translates to weight loss of ten pounds in terms of ease of walking. Developers also believe this could eventually help workers who are required to walk all day, such as meter readers and postal workers.
One of the reasons there is still much more work to be done before the leg device is available to accident victims is because, while users can sit and stand easily while wearing the device, it is very difficult to walk up and down stairs.
As our Winston-Salem personal injury attorneys can explain, while these devices and others like them may eventually provide relief to accident victims with lower extremity injuries, they may not be cheap. Much of this new medical technology is very expensive. For example, new prosthetic legs designed in response to many soldiers who lost legs due to improvised explosive devices (IED) can allow patients to walk with ease never possible in the past. However, they are also not cheap. The average cost of a modern prosthetic leg is more than $10,000, and they last an average of three years before they need to be replaced with a newer model.
To help with this high cost in potential future medical expenses, you should discuss this issue with your experienced personal injury attorney, so this can be taken into account during settlement negotiations.
Contact our Charlotte personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Leg device developed in the Carolinas may help the injured , May 10, 2015, The Charlotte Observer
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