A four-year-old whose fingers were blown off by an exploding lightbulb is finally able to ‘be a little girl again’ after getting a prosthetic hand.
Aubry Harper was two when she suffered the life-changing injury while inspecting her mother’s light-up vanity table at home in May 2018.
As the curious toddler pawed the lightbulbs one exploded in her right hand, blowing off most of her fingers and leaving the rest ‘dangling’ off.
Paramedics rushed to the family home in Athens, Alabama, and took Aubry straight to hospital to try salvage as much of her hand as possible.
But doctors were unable to save her fingers and had to amputate all of them but her pinky. She was left with just a palm.
Aubry was unable to cycle, trampoline and play on swings due to her injuries.
But after being fitted with a mechanical hand she is able once again to take up her favourite hobbies.
Aubry Harper, from Alabama, was just two when a lightbulb exploded in her hand and she suffered the life-changing injury. Here she wear a top that says ‘I am an amputee princess’
The youngster, now four, is all smiles after getting a mechanical hand fitted, giving her back her independence
She was unable to cycle, trampoline and play on swings due to her injuries – but has now taken up her favourite hobbies
Aubrey’s fingers were blown off as she inspected her mother’s light-up vanity table at home in May 2018
The curious toddler pawed the lightbulbs on the vanity table (similar to this one) and one of the bulbs exploded in her right hand
The hand is operated by the muscles in the upper arm, as they move, they cause the artificial limb to open and close.
Recalling the traumatic event, Aubry’s mother Alesha, 36, said: ‘I was in the next room and heard a pop and scream so ran in to find her fingers dangling from her hand and blood everywhere.
‘We called the ambulance and when we arrived at the hospital doctors and nurses were already outside waiting and she was flown in a helicopter to a children’s hospital in Alabama.
‘When we got to the hospital she was rushed into surgery, but unfortunately after three hours we were told that they could not save any fingers except for part of her pinky.
Doctors were unable to save her fingers and had to amputate all of them but her pinky
After Aubry was discharged from hospital the family were referred to a clinic in New Jersey where they started work for her mechanical prosthetic, which moves like a normal hand
The process took about a year but, now that she has it, it’s changed her life, according to her mother
‘Luckily they were able to save her palm also so we spent the next week learning how to change her dressings so that we could take her home sooner than expected.’
After Aubry was discharged from hospital the family were referred to a clinic in New Jersey where they started work for her mechanical prosthetic, which moves like a normal hand.
Her mother added: ‘The process took about a year but, now that she has it, it’s changed her life – she’s able to be a little girl again and do the things she loves like riding her bike.
‘Having her second hand makes Aubry feel safe again – she can go on the swings, ride her bike and just go about her every day life again with two hands.’
After the accident, Alesha was worried her daughter would never be able to use her right hand again.
She said: ‘I don’t think there’s a word to describe how we felt in that scenario, shocked is an understatement.
‘We almost thought that was it for Aubry’s right hand, so she relearnt how to do everything with her left.
‘It was amazing when we found out she would be getting an amazing prosthetic free of charge, we felt like she had a chance at being an able bodied little girl again.
‘Even though she was doing amazing without the prosthetic and was adapting to life without one, the extra hand has really helped her.
‘After the incident she was scared of a lot of things, but having the use of her second hand back has made her feel better and less upset or confused about what has happened.’
WHAT IS AN AMPUTATION?
An amputation is the surgical removal of part of the body, such as an arm or leg.
An amputation may be needed if:
- you have a severe infection in your limb
- your limb has been affected by gangrene (often as a result of peripheral arterial disease)
- there’s serious trauma to your limb, such as a crush or blast wound
- your limb is deformed and has limited movement and function
Amputations can be done under general anaesthetic (where you’re unconscious) or using either an epidural anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic (both of which numb the lower half of the body).
The choice of anaesthetic can depend on what part of your body is being amputated.
Most amputations involve removing a section of a limb rather than the entire limb.
Once the section of the limb has been amputated, additional techniques can be used to help improve the function of the remaining part of the limb and reduce the risk of complications.
These include shortening and smoothing the bone in the remaining section of the limb so it’s covered by an adequate amount of soft tissue and muscle.
The surgeon then stitches the muscle to the bones to help strengthen the remaining section (a technique known as myodesis).
After the amputation, your wound will be sealed with stitches or surgical staples. It will be covered with a bandage and a tube may be placed under your skin to drain any excess fluid. The bandage will usually need to be kept in place for a few days to reduce the risk of infection.