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Prosthetics give woman new fingers, toddler a leg

Improvements in prosthetic device technology never cease to amaze.

Just ask Judy Griffin, an Illinois woman who lost seven fingers 16 years ago from an accident using a machine on her third day of work.

"It's the same as losing a loved one," she told WQAD-TV. "Someone dies -- that part of my body died."

Recently, she became the first in her area to receive "bionic" fingers that were created from military technology for soldiers who lost limbs in combat. The fingers were designed by Advanced Arm Dynamics, based in Redondo Beach, Calif.

The individually-powered prosthetic fingers can bend, touch, pick up and point, and are designed to fit over remaining portions of a person's finger to restore a natural appearance, according to the company's website.

The muscles in her hand send a signal that turns into a motion that then controls the hand with help of a battery pack. The information is transmitted to a computer where doctors can graph her progress acclimating to the new hand.

Dr. Thomas VonGillern, an orthopedic surgeon at ORA Orthopedics in Moline, Ill. who treated Griffin, said such devices change "the entire mindset for a patient that's had this type of injury."

Said Griffin, "It's hard to explain - it's just awesome."

One day, 14-month old Oscar Passoni-Torres of Broken Arrow, Okla. may too reach that conclusion.

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The toddler was born with two rare conditions: proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), a birth defect of the pelvis and femur bone that causes a hip deformity and shortens the leg, according to the Alfred I. DuPont Institute, and fibular hemimelia, a partial or total absence of the fibula in the lower leg, Medscape reported. PFFD affects about 1 in 50,000 births.

Last month, Oscar got a prosthetic leg from Hanger Inc. prosthetics and orthotics in Florida., his mom told KOTV.

"They have to come up with an individual design for each kid that has PFFD because each case is different," she said.

Dr. Kevin Carroll, a prosthetist who is vice president at Hangar, commended the boy's parents, saying Oscar should live a long, healthy and productive life.

"Oscar is very fortunate," he told KOTV. "He has great parents. They're doing their homework and as a result, he's going to just fly. Regardless what direction they go in, this little kid is going to do incredibly well."

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