(Trinidad Guardian) Five-year-old Joshua Rufus is literally getting a helping hand from a Point Lisas-based engineering company.
Joshua lost part of his right hand three years ago when he innocently placed a scratch bomb into a lighted deya during Divali celebrations at his parent’s Debe Trace, Debe home. The explosion scarred him for life.
Two weeks ago, Guardian Media highlighted Joshua’s story and it touched Deo N Lall, the founder of Qualitech Machining Services Ltd, who is offering to assist the child with a 3D-printed prosthetic hand.
Joshua has learned to adapt to his disability, learning to write with his left hand. He is able to dress himself and do most basic tasks that any child his age can do.
Lall said his company had been experimenting with a 3D printer to make artificial limbs.
“We believe we may be in a position to assist Joshua in a very small, but beneficial way, by fitting him with such a limb to assist him in his everyday tasks. It will, of course, be done at no cost to him,” Lall stated.
When Joshua’s father, Marcus Rufus was told of the company’s offer, he was ecstatic.
“This is such great news, Joshua will be so happy,” Rufus said.
During a visit to the company, Joshua was allowed to play and interact with 3D items, including a replica of the Marvel superhero Iron Man hand.
“He was so excited by the items they allowed him to play with everything. When he got home, he told his older brother, “Brother, I’m going to be a transformer,” Rufus said.
Rufus said the doctors at the San Fernando General Hospital where Joshua was warded for almost three months following the incident had discussed the possibility of fitting the child with a prosthetic limb but a decision had been taken to wait until Joshua is significantly older so he does not quickly outgrow the traditional prosthetic, which is very expensive to manufacture.
In an interview, another company official, Deepak Lall, said he is hopeful that Joshua’s prosthetic can be made before Christmas Day.
“We have two options, we can either scan his hand which will take about ten minutes and build the prosthetic from that or use a casting mould and build it that way. I ordered a casting mould online because I was searching for one locally and could not find it but if the time starts running out, we may opt to do the scan and build it like that,” he said.