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Medford man builds his own prosthetic hand

Earlier this year, Ian Davis lost his fingers in a work accident and said his insurance wouldn't cover his prosthetic. So he built his own.

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 11:24 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The last two years have been nothing short of hard for Ian Davis. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer that forms in plasma cells. Not long after, he smashed his hand working in his shop. His injury combined with fighting cancer led to some complications. Surgeons said it was his hand, or his life.

"They ended up taking my fingers off which being a maker was a tough deal,” Davis said. “You use your hand for everything."

Now he's left with just his thumb on his left hand.

"That was kind of a career. It really affects your attitude toward life. All of a sudden you're having all of these struggles. You have the struggle of the cancer and then now you have your hand."

He learned that if he lost his palm, insurance would have given him a prosthetic hand. Davis said his insurance denied his request to cover his prosthetic because “your fingers are not medically necessary.” He turned to his 3D printers instead.

"Be it that my insurance won't cover it, I am faced with either do without or build your own," Davis added. “Be it that I’m a mechanical engineer of sorts I chose to build my own."

His world has gotten much smaller since the accident. He spends most of the day in his office revising and making new prototypes. He knows there are other people out there with the same problem he has but they can't make their own hands. He wants to be able to do this for other people who need it.

"There's a need and it just needs to be filled."

Davis hopes a biomedical engineering department will give him a chance to do just that.

"I think one of the greatest times will be when I'm able to have my design go on to someone besides me."

And for the fraction of the typical price.

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